The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Choristers shine in TPSMEA All-State competition

Tinsley Silcox
Students pose after the All-Region concert in early January.

A record-breaking 17 Marksmen performed in the Texas Private School Music Education Association (TPSMEA) All-State Concert Jan. 25 to 27. Across three different regions and hundreds of aspiring choristers, Marksmen took many of the top spots in their respective divisions. Some were even given the opportunity to perform their own solo.

Director of Upper School Choir Tinsley Silcox has been cultivating this year’s batch of choristers since the beginning of the school year in preparation for the concert.

“The work starts in August: the day we get back to school,” Silcox said. “By the end of September, they audition with little snippets of music by themselves in front of all the other students waiting their turns to sing. It’s intimidating.”

This process forces choristers to overcome nerves and perform even when going through stage fright. Five judges sit in the front, marking every tremble in their voices and falter in their breath. The judging is extremely thorough and detailed; instead of a traditional one through ten, TPSMEA grades on a scale of 300. With this style of critique, even the most minute of mistakes can dock points off.

Silcox believes, however, that this experience is worth the stress and struggle.

“Marksmen are used to a 20 to 30 person choir, filled with only tenors and bass singers,” Tinsley said. “The All State Choir is a 200-voice choir, and students sing with other voice types like sopranos and altos. ”

As All-State is one of the most important and prestigious fine arts events that private schools can offer, every member of the school’s choir strives to have the opportunity to participate in this concert, but, due to the competitive nature of the event, there are always a few that barely miss the cut.

“If I’d had my way, everybody would have made it,” Silcox said. “The hardest part for me is to tell somebody ‘you didn’t make the ensemble this year,’ but that’s just encouragement to try to do even better next year.”

Sophomore Andy Li made All-Region for the baritone division last year, but just missed the mark for All-State. Fueled by his failure to make the cut this year, Li went on to place sixth in the state and went on to sing with the 200-voice choir in Richardson.

“We practiced this whole semester for [TPSMEA],” Li said. “It really means a lot because it just proves how much work that we put into this school and to the choir to be able to experience this.”

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Doan Nguyen, Staff Writer