By Brielle Schaeffer | Jackson Hole News and Guide
The Jackson Hole High School music department will send a record number of students to the Wyoming All-State Band, Orchestra and Choir Clinic in January.
Nine Jackson musicians will attend the three-day rehearsal clinics in Laramie that culminate in a concert.
“These are the best kids in the state,” orchestra director Vince Gutwein said.
From the orchestra, judges picked seniors Winston Scofield (cello), Kenny Stone (violin) and Marena Salerno Collins (viola), junior Emily Johnson (violin) and sophomore Nicole Collins (cello).
In the choir juniors Melissa Elliott (alto) and Gabriella Castro (soprano 2) and sophomore Makina Waatti (soprano 2) will attend.
Freshman trombonist Elizabeth Chambers made the cut for the band.
Gutwein, choir director Jens Gade and band teacher Pete Closson heard the news about their stellar musicians Dec. 2.
The students were selected after an exacting audition process in the fall in which they had to record themselves performing scales, sight reading and playing a prepared piece.
“The judges listened to each recording and chose the best performances by number,” Gutwein said. “They never know who the kids are. It’s a completely random process.”
The audition material is challenging, Gade said. Students rehearsed before and after school and during lunch to prepare for tryouts.
“They put in many hours of practice to get to this level, to make this happen,” Gutwein said.
Gade said the audition process is good for the kids.
“It really makes the students critique their own voice,” he said, “and realistically focus on specific aspects of their own performance that they should work on to help themselves improve.”
This is the first year multiple choir students were selected for All-State and the first trip for these three.
Gade got help from private voice instructor Nicole Madison from the Singing in the Schools program run by Laura Huckin and the Cathedral Voices Chamber Choir to coach kids through auditions.
Scofield, Johnson and Salerno Collins have been selected to All-State orchestra for three consecutive years. Principal violinist Stone and Collins will be attending for the first time.
Being selected for All-State is a prestigious honor, Closson said. This is the second consecutive year the Jackson Hole High School Band will be represented.
“Elizabeth is an exceptionally bright and talented young lady,” Closson said. “It’s especially impressive that she was selected for All-State as a freshman.”
More than 450 of Wyoming’s best high school music students will meet Jan. 19-21 in Laramie for the Wyoming All-State Band, Orchestra and Choir clinics at Laramie High School.
The All-State Clinic is held in conjunction with the Wyoming Music Educators Association State Conference and is sponsored by that organization and the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
After days of rehearsals, the students will perform at a gala concert Jan. 21. Dr. Patrick Patton, retired choral director of Casper College, will conduct the All-State Choir. Frank Tracz, director of bands at Kansas State University, will lead the All-State Band, and James Pryzgocki, orchestra director at the University of Wyoming, will conduct the orchestra.

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For Immediate Release

December 3, 2013
Contact: Laura Huckin, 307-774-5497, 
Joyful music in a superb setting!
Two FREE performances at Walk Festival Hall celebrate the holiday season this month
JACKSON, WY.  The Community is invited to enjoy FREE chamber music concerts on December 14 @ 4pm and December 17 @ 7pm at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village. Sounds of the Season, features classic repertoire and festive holiday favorites performed by local talent from Cathedral Voices Chamber Choir, Jackson Hole Brass Quintet, Jackson Hole Symphony Orchestra, and Treble Voices.  Admission is free, all ages are welcome. For more information please visit
“I am delighted by this opportunity for Cathedral Voices and Treble Voices to celebrate the holidays with the Symphony Orchestra and the Jackson Hole Brass Quintet,” said Laura Huckin, Artistic Director for Cathedral Voices Chamber Choir.  “Each ensemble is offering something unique for audiences to enjoy.”
These free community music concerts would not be possible without the support of the Wyoming Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Old Bill’s Fun Run, Cultural Council of Jackson Hole/Town and County Arts for All, Laura Jane Musser Fund, Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, and many individuals and businesses that support free, live music in Teton County.