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SHS senior sings in All-State Choir

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
Summit Daily News
Austin Miller at All State Choir
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When Austin Miller sets his mind on a goal, he follows through, even if it means dedicating summer free time to it.

Miller is the first Summit High School student to make the men’s All-State choir since Erik Dempsey garnered a spot there two years ago.

Miller, a bass, started choir at the end of his sophomore year.

“When Austin began in choir, he was pretty uncertain on matching pitch, and we worked on basic skills, such as breath support, open singing position and ear training,” said Summit High teacher Cathie Hill.

He honed those skills and moved on to training necessary for the honor choir audition: sight reading, tonal memory, scales and triads.

His dedication led him to a Western Slope Honor Choir selection last year, which boosted his confidence, Hill said, and led Miller to aim for All-State. Hill offered free summer training to any student who wanted to prepare for All-State, and Miller was the only one to take her up on it. Last summer, she worked with Miller on solos, sight-reading and more.

Last Tuesday, Miller performed with about 100 other outstanding juniors and seniors throughout the state at the Wells Fargo Theatre in Denver. He sang six pieces with the men’s choir after rehearsing with the ensemble on Sunday and Monday. Students must come to All-State rehearsals prepared; if they’re not, they’re sent home during the second audition, before the show.

“Ever since I made it into choir, I just wanted to make it to All-State, so it was satisfying,” Miller said, adding that it was an affirmation that he could sing well.

“The fact is that it is highly competitive and difficult to make All-State,” Hill said. “You are competing with the best vocal students statewide, for about 450 spots, half of which are men. It is particularly difficult to make it as a soprano, because there are so many. To be selected is a huge boost to self-confidence … The whole experience is at a level achieved by only a few top collegiate choirs in the nation.”

Hill said she has never had a student who has worked harder in song.

“Austin is one of the smartest and most dedicated young men I have ever known,” Hill said. “He relishes a challenge and likes to push himself. He set a goal for himself and made it happen.”


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