Hailey Beegle and Diego Pacheco were among the performers who represented Quincy at the State Solo and Ensemble competition at Central Washington University at the end of April.
The school’s Spectrum Choir, of which Pacheco is also a member, participated in the competition, as well.
Asked how they felt after participating, they both said in unison, “Relieved,” like a tiny choir of two.
“Also proud, I think,” Beegle said, to which Pacheco added, “of having made it this far.”
It was surprising to Beegle to be a lot less stressed out than she expected to be.
“I’m glad that it went as well as it did,” she said, adding that the preparation prior to the competition helped her stay calm. “As long as you’re prepared, everything will go fine.”
For Pacheco, it was a long overdue performance, as the Spectrum Choir qualified for state two years ago, right before COVID-19 shut everything down. So, to finally get to perform meant a lot to him.
“It feels good, now that I’m here,” he said. “I thought it was going to be more chaotic.” The support of teachers and peers helped him stay calm, he said.
Choir director Kylie Youngren praised both the soloists and the choir performers for their job.
“It was really rewarding,” she said. “It just felt like a celebration of all the hard work, not just from this year, but from the past few years, because it’s been a while since we have been to that event.”
Youngren reiterated how meaningful it was for seniors like Pacheco to compete at state, two years after they first earned the right to go, as sophomores.
“It was just a great experience to watch the result of their hard work come together on stage,” Youngren said. “Not just with great performances, but with a great experiences.” To make the moment even more special, one of the pieces Pacheco sang this year was one he had hoped to sing back then, as well.
“To hear the growth in his voice, it’s just so cool,” Youngren said.
Youngren was in the audience watching the performances, which was sort of a unique experience for her.
“It’s just an opportunity for the kids to take the next step, having to be accountable for every musical decision on stage,” she said. “When you don’t have a conductor you really have to know your music that much more.”
And for a conductor who all of a sudden finds herself not being allowed to conduct?
“It was fun, although, at times I had to sit on my hands a little bit,” she said with a laugh.
Lastly, Youngren thanked the community and the school district for their support of the music program, and said that success such as making it to state could give current QHS choir members momentum and also attract new people to the group, as well.
“If they can see that we are creating opportunities for excellence in our program and it’s something we would love to have more students involved, if they would like to try something new and get to know a lot more people and make beautiful music, that this is a really great place to make this happen.”