Every year, the list of West Las Vegas students selected to compete at the all-state level in choir grows bigger.
In 2003, Karliz DeMarco was the only student to compete in the prestigious event; this year, 16 students were selected.
“This is the most students ever to make all-state in school history,” music director David Arnell Arellanes said. “West Las Vegas has more men selected than any other school class A through AAAAA, and Christopher Yee has made history by being the first student in choir to make all-state four years in a row.”
“This is a big accomplishment for me, and it feels really good,” Yee said. “I hope to minor in vocal performance at UNM and hopefully one day become an opera singer.”
Principal Gene Parson and former West Las Vegas musician has called the school’s choir, “The Voices of Angels.”
“Because West Las Vegas didn’t have a music program for years, one of my proudest moments was when Mr. Arellanes came in to develop the program seven years ago. The program he has put together is truly extraordinary,” Parson said.
Parson said Arellanes has high expectations of his students and when called on, they perform to amazed audiences wherever they go.
Arellanes said, “Our students will be working with some wonderful conductors and be put together with some of the best singers in the state. This is an especially exciting and special year because it seems like we’ve come full circle in that most students that are All Staters this year have been with me since they were in sixth grade — this is their graduating year and what better way to finish their year than to make all-state.”
Besides excelling in the arts, Parson said choir students also are generally at the top of their class.
“They are self-driven, self- motivated, and studies show that music stimulates the mind and you get positive results. Our kids are proof of that for sure, and they get better every year,” Parson said. “I am so proud, their achievement is wonderful.”
Arellanes said besides all-state choir, four students will be auditioning for all-state band. He said the competition is held Jan. 7 through10 with the concert at Popejoy Hall on the last day.
West's all-star selections over the years: