BROOKSVILLE - Just weeks into the revived Hernando High School choir program, four students have already advanced through two Florida All-State Choir auditions into the final round.
The Hernando High School finalists are juniors Drake Middlebrook, Hannah Carter, and Raelis Cantero-Garcia and freshman Kallie Carlton, according to information provided by the school.
Students from Springstead and Weeki Wachee high schools also advanced to the final round. All of them competed against nearly 2,000 other high school students in the state.
Most of the district's middle and high school students passed the 50-question written music theory test - the first of three auditions - and moved on to the sight reading auditions.
The sight reading audition required students to read 40 measures of music in multiple time signatures, key signatures and minor keys.
"There were a lot of talented people there," said Marcella Moura, a student at Powell Middle School competing in the final round.
"It was a lot of fun," added Gabby Van Syckle, also a student and finalist from Powell.
Hernando High's choir program dissolved several years ago after almost the school's music library lost its funding, said Hernando High and Powell Middle School vocal music director David Pletincks, who was recently tasked with bringing similar achievements to Hernando High.
For eight consecutive years, Powell Middle School's choir has earned superior ratings during Florida Vocal Association's district music performance assessments, Pletincks said.
The school's musical theater class has performed at district and state junior thespian festivals, as well.
Students in the program have also performed in the governor's mansion and Universal Studios, among other notable places.
"(Hernando High's) program struggled for a few years, kind of on and off," Pletincks said. "But they haven't done anything like this in many years."
Powell Middle also has nine students competing in the final round come late October, Pletincks said.
It will be held for his students' division at the middle school, where he teaches.
During the final round, 1,200 middle school students and 1,500 high school students across the state will record in classrooms with microphones, and digitally upload their audio files for choir judges to review, Pletincks said.
Once the judges have selected the winners, they will participate in an all-state choir concert on the evenings of Jan. 10-11 in downtown Tampa.
As the Florida Vocal Association Middle School chairman, Pletincks helps organize the middle school portion of the all-state concert, which will be held in the ballroom of the Marriot Waterside Hotel, and the high school concert will be held at the Straz Center.
"Guests come from around the country to conduct the choirs, usually university professors and choral directors," Pletincks said.
"They will rehearse two full days, and then do the concert."
Pletincks will enjoy that concert much more with him and his students on stage.
"We did have four that passed (auditions) quite easily," he said about Hernando High's students. "That was good."