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Wheat Choirs End Year on High Note

            The Wheat Choir program ended its spring contest season on a sweet note with top honors in UIL Concert and Sight Reading.

            The Girls’ Choir was awarded the UIL Sweepstakes Award in achieving both a 1st division rating from all judges for the trio of songs they performed on stage, followed up by a straight series of 1st division scores from all judges in the Sight Reading event.

            The achievement may be a “first” for the Wheat choir program according to Director Johanna Ray—who is in her “first” year at the campus.

            “As far as I can tell from the records I have, which go back to 2012, this is the first Sweepstakes Award in Choir we’ve received,” she said. “We were very excited to bring the news back to the campus. The Guys’ Choir came very close to the same achievement, with 1st division ratings across the board in their onstage Concert performance. One judge, out of the three reviewing the Sight Reading event, gave them a 2, which resulted in a 2nd division score overall.”

            “I couldn’t be more proud to stand in front of these choirs and lead them as they achieve such phenomenal results,” Ray said. “They deserve congratulations for their amazing success in overcoming all odds this year.”

            Members of the WMS Girls Choir include Zoey Ballew, McKenzie Barnes, Taryn Bennett, Autumn Casillas, Courtney Cooley, Hailey Crider, America De La Paz, Emily Doty, Aubree Earley, Riley Eason, Camille Ellis, Adrien Garcia, Dezerea Hess, Autumn Kingston, Savannah Lawhom, Aryanna Lopez, Senae Lovell, Emily Martinez Serbin, Reyna Moctezuma, Cheyenne Morales, Nicole Olvera, Kiley Payne, Hannah Richardson, Marissa Ruiz, Jaycie Smith, Kaylynn Sullivan, Addyson Thompson, Maryah Turner, Harmonie Webb, Heaven Zuniga, Kyleigh Wallis and Rachel Yarborough.

            Guys’ Choir members are Zecharias Ankien, Elijah Armendariz-Lorows, Xander Ballew, Coby Chick, Elias Giddens, Alex Huerta, Arturo Martinez and Adam Nunn.

            Lending her talents to the award-winning effort was WMS teacher Kathryn Stallings who served as piano accompanist.

            In a separate event, four choir members received 1st division scores in solos performed before guest judges. The award-winning soloists included seventh graders Elias Giddens, Courtney Cooley and Dezerea Hess and eighth grader Xander Ballew.

            Ray came to Wheat this year with more than 20 years of experience in music education, which has included the Alvarado, Brownwood, Mansfield and Ruidoso, New Mexico school districts.