Walker hits perfect pitch
Lucas Walker's love of music began when he was 4 years old and in the De Soto Baptist Church kiddie choir.
"I knew he had talent because he's a Walker," said Mary Etta Copeland, De Soto High School choir instructor and director of the kiddie choir. Students in De Soto High School were also honored the weekend of Dec. 3 and 4 at the regional Kansas Music Educator's Association honor choir and band.
Walker, a senior, is the first student in De Soto High School history to be honored by the southwest division of the American Choral Director's Association -- a selection that includes a spot on the organization's honor choir. He submitted a tape for the competition and was chosen out of hundreds of students from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
"Mrs. Copeland talked me into it," Walker said. "I had competed at state (Kansas Music Educator's Association) before, but I thought this would be fun."
Walker will travel to St. Louis in March to sing with a group of students from throughout the southwest. Heather Kline, another De Soto senior, was selected as an alternate and could perform at the concert if another choir member is sick or unable to attend.
Walker submitted a tape of his tenor solo for last year's KMEA competition, "Vittoria mio core," and "My Country 'Tis of Thee." His solo last year made it through the regional competition at KMEA and earned a II rating at state KMEA. A "I" rating is the highest.
In addition to state competitions, Walker also sang the lead role in this year's production of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Next year Walker plans to study music at either William Jewel College or Kansas University. He's not sure yet what area of music he would like to study, as he also plays trombone.
Copeland said this is the first year she's encouraged students to enter in the ACDA honor choir because it's closer.
There were 18 students throughout De Soto High School chosen for honor bands this year. The students auditioned for the honor choir and band several weeks ago and were judged by music teachers from around the state. On the day of the concert, they traveled to Blue Valley to perform with other Kansas students. Freshmen are in a separate competition with junior high school students.
Jenna Hodges, a freshman clarinet player, qualified for the state Sousa honor band for three years. This year, she was placed second chair among all players in the state. Hodges said studying music has helped her academically.
"You've heard musical people have better brains, so it's easier to figure things like math," she said. "Plus you meet great people."
James Ingalls, junior clarinet player, and Alex Prosser, junior flute player, said they have to practice on a regular basis to be able to qualify for honor band.
"I think people who do this are more serious," Prosser said. "We practice more, and take lessons."