AA Choir Festival 2022


Layla Wilkerson, Reporter


     Lovingly called “Double A” by students, the AA Choir festival is an annual festival for the music students of Montana. Every year the AA high schools send their top choirs to musically represent their schools. The festival travels around the state and has a new guest conductor every time. 

     This year the Hellgate chamber choir was invited alongside the Sentinel Spartan choir, the Big Sky Aesirian choir, and the Helena Star Lighters and Ambiance. In August the instructors learned what music their choir would be singing. Each school had their own individual song chosen to be performed alongside the combined choir. 

     On the morning of Nov.14, all four schools met at the Big Sky auditorium. All together there was roughly 150 students in one room. Under the instruction of Dr. Erynn M. Millard, the students worked hard to perfect their pieces. Spending the day at Big Sky, students arrived around 10 a.m. and were released at 7 p.m. The choirs combined into one and began their work. Stopping at noon for a lunch break, some people went and got lunch from one of the surrounding restaurants. At 1 p.m. students returned to work for 3 more hours. Kids were then given time for dinner. Taking almost 20 extra minutes to arrive, the iconic Domino’s pizza was delivered. Hellgate then took the stage for their private rehearsal of their song. After running through the song and confirming that the chamber choir had indeed learned their song and was ready, the stage was handed over. All students who chose to stay were rewarded with an amazing concert from Dolce Canto at the end of the evening. 

     Students came back together on Nov. 15 to continue their work with Dr. Millard. The choir broke apart again at noon for a lunch break. The choir resumed their work for two final hours before students were allowed to go home to nap, eat dinner, and prepare for the final concert. Some chose to stay at Big Sky and instead spent the time hanging out and relaxing with some yummy dinner.

     At 5:30 the choir met again to give their performance, starting with Sentinel. They performed the song “Sing My Child”, followed by Helena with their song “Wayfaring Stranger”. Next was Big Sky’s turn with their song “Flight Song.”

       Finally the Hellgate chamber choir took the stage dressed in their robes. Their song balleilakka was performed. The audience was amazed at the soloists and the fast, fun pace of the song. Chamber was thrilled when the audience went crazy for their performance. Then it was time for the big event. 

     The students merged into their combined choir and awaited Dr. Millard to begin their performance. They started with their song “Laetatus Sum” followed by “Mangisondele Nkosi Yam”. They then sang “O love” and ended the night with “How Good”. 

      These students worked insanely hard to be able to perform Tuesday and it definitely showed. The night ended with a standing ovation for our musicians. Please congratulate your Hellgate chamber choir on their hard work and Ellen McKenzie on her resilient instruction!