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Choir student advances to state

Marquis McBride with his music to Gagot. For the third consecutive year, junior Marquis McBride has earned a place on the All-State Choir, however, this is the first time it was for the 5A/6A large school division.

Marquis, who is a PHS choir student and the son of Marquita and Isiah McBride, will perform Saturday, Feb. 16, in San Antonio as part of the 2019 Texas Music Educators Association Convention. He was chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive process of auditions at district, region and area levels.

According to PHS choir director Rachel Lavender, her student’s road to All-State has been challenging.

“He’s in the Top 2 percent of music students in the state,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how challenging the music really is.”

According to Ms. Lavender, for his most recent audition, Marquis had to learn three pieces of complicated music, including advanced works of Johannes Brahms and Sydney Guillaume’s “Gagot,” which is a mix of Haitian, Creole and French languages.

“He has to practice all of it, because you don’t know which piece they will pick for you to sing in the rounds,” she said. “When the piano starts, you better be ready.”

Since All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive, only 1,780 students are selected through a process that begins with more than 68,000.

Once in San Antonio for the TMEA convention, All-State students participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally-recognized conductors. For the All-State concert schedule, go to the Performances section of www.tmea.org/convention.

Marquis doesn’t want his All-State experience to end with this year’s performance.

“I can hopefully go next year for the fourth time,” he said. “I’m going to try to make the mixed choir so I can say I made it in all choirs available.”

Marquis said he comes from a family of singers who have been supportive.

Marquis McBride “Everyone in my family sings, but no one has pursued it like I have,” he said. “But they are always proud of me.”

Marquis may have started singing too early to remember, but his official chorale music education started in sixth grade.

“I’ve always sang in my church choir,” he said. “That made me want to choose choir when I had the option of band, orchestra or choir in middle school, and that’s really where I found my love for music.”

One of the highlights of his musical journey came last year when he was invited to sing at Carnegie Hall.

“Through school, qualifying for All-State has been amazing because I’ve had so many opportunities and the people have been so supportive,” Marquis said. “But my most exciting moment in choir has to be Carnegie Hall. To be someone who got to sing there is such an out-of-world experience, I barely have the words for it. It was one of the highlights of my life so far.”

After graduation, Marquis plans to focus on music while he attends the University of North Texas.

“I want to major in vocal performance and music education,” he said. “This will allow me the opportunity to sing opera professionally around the world then return to Texas to teach and give students the same opportunity I had because it’s such an amazing experience.”

Marquis McBride.