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The Antelope

New director helps change UNK honor choir’s tune

Students worked during the day to be able to perform their songs during the choral clinic.


UNK welcomed more than 750 students from high schools across Nebraska to exhibit their musicianship at the annual Honor Band Choral Clinic. For years, UNK’s Departments of Music, Theater and Dance, have selected students based on auditions to participate in this grand event, but what made this year unique was the efforts of the new choir director to showcase the university.

“The obvious hope is that they are hooked into coming to UNK eventually, but long-term, I think my goal is to make music at a high level with them, to impart choral techniques they can build upon and to model values of living that make them better people,” said Dr. John Petzet, the assistant professor of music and the Director of choral activities at UNK.

Throughout the day, the directors worked with the talents of sophomores, juniors and seniors from over 101 high schools on various pieces meant to enhance their skills. A public performance for the choral clinic was held in the Health and Sports Center at 7 p.m., at which the Women’s Choir, Festival Choir, and Honor Choir performed for the public. 

It appeared that Dr. Petzet had made a positive impression after his first time leading a UNK honor choir, according to Trevor Ventura, a senior at Ord High School. 

“These honor choir performances are the inspiration for me wanting to join a choir in college,” Ventura said. “You get to meet a lot of new people that have the same interests as you and you also learn a few techniques that can help you later on when you go home and get back to your school’s choir.”

Ventura is a prime example of a student who plans to become involved in a collegiate music program, even though he is planning on majoring in a non-music related field, mechatronics and agricultural engineering. Proving even further, that music is for everyone. 

The students were not only attracted to the possibility of collegiate level choirs, but some also considered UNK as the future college of their choice. 

“UNK has been my top choice for a long time now, and the music program has basically sealed the deal,” said Nikki Knoell, a senior at Holdrege High School planning to major in the music field. “It was a little different without the previous director, but a good different. I can tell that the people love their jobs here.”

The enthusiasm shown by the directors for their work was presented in the way they educated the students and advertised the music program to the young talent. 

“The 2020 Choral Clinic was a terrific experience. The students were well-prepared, the logistics of the day ran very smoothly, and I have heard several comments from UNK students that the high schoolers really enjoyed the day,” said Dr. Petzet. “Next year will be even bigger and better.”

Beginning with warm-ups and ending with a hearty round of applause, the UNK Honor Band Choral Clinic finished the Honor Band Choral Clinic with impressive performances from the high school students, and the directors, including Dr. Petzet, accomplished their goal of introducing potential Lopers to the music program. 

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