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The Windsor Chronicle

The Windsor Chronicle

Claire Boyer
Owen Burnett (12) participates in a Knowledge Bowl practice during lunch. Burnett is a part of theater, swim team, Knowledge Bowl and choir, and he received a perfect score when auditioning for the All-State Jazz Choir.

Valedictorian gets perfect score on All-State Jazz Choir audition

All-State Jazz Choir is one of the most prestigious choirs to be a part of. To qualify, singers go through an extremely tenuous and difficult audition process. This school year, four students from WHS made it into the jazz choir, a true achievement made by few.

Of these students, one received a perfect score on his audition, something that is rarely ever seen in music. Owen Burnett (12), the senior class valedictorian, received this high honor. As surprised as he was, his peers and teachers knew they could expect something like this for Burnett.

Burnett acts in character as Amos in last year’s musical performance: “Chicago.” Burnett has been a part of several theatrical productions during his four years at WHS. (Kylie Farris)

“He works so hard at everything he does, whether it’s swimming, or debate or choir or theater or calculus. Burnett wants to do his very best. And it’s not that he’s comparing himself to other people, it’s being his own best version of himself,” Director of Choirs Amy Murphy (staff) said. 

Burnett has worked hard to get to this position in his high school career, and ever since his freshman year when he was the only person in his choir he has strived to achieve great things.

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Though he works hard, Burnett was still surprised to receive the scores. “I was shocked, I would say, because I was with my nanna when we opened the email from Mrs. Murphy, and we were just like, ‘What?'”

Even though he was shocked, he was thrilled with the results, furthermore going on to say how he was glad that all his hard efforts paid off. He explained that he would work on the audition materials intermittently, preparing what he could whenever he could. 

It can appear that holding the position as valedictorian and being a part of so many extracurriculars can be stressful, but Burnett claims it really has to do with time management skills.

“I make sure I find time to balance, like, when am I doing choir stuff, when am I doing swimming, when am I doing homework, or whatever. But, I feel like it mainly comes down to what you prioritize, so, like, in my mind, I always… order things in order of importance,” Burnett said.

Talent is a large part of his success, but there is also that drive he has that helps him push beyond that barrier that people tend to block themselves with.

“He would work hard on it, like, all the time. He’d get his audition songs and, like, his state songs, and we’d be driving in the car, and he’ll just be, like, playing them and singing them,” Kara Haj (11) said. Haj has been Burnett’s friend since her freshman year, and they’ve performed in multiple school productions together.

Owen Burnett (12) and Kara Haj (11) pose at the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier in California. Burnett and Haj have both performed in several theater productions together. (Photo provided by Kara Haj)

With everything he does, Burnett puts full effort into what he works on, and he always strives to be the best he is able, always keeping the mindset that obstacles are just hurdles to overcome. 

From calculus to theater and swimming, he always puts in an equal amount of effort, never shying away from what he can do and not comparing himself to others. 

Many of his peers and teachers argue that he is fully deserving of his placement in his class, the choir and in the musical and theater productions.

Along with Burnett, three other students qualified for the state choir: Lily Darrington (11), Tristan Cox (12) and Nelson Welton (11). This semester these students will represent WHS during All-State Jazz Choir performances. They all worked hard for their placement in the choir, and through their drive and talent they have this incredible honor to sing at the All-State Jazz Choir.

“The festival happens at the Colorado Music Educators Conference, at the end of January, and so these singers are going to get to perform at the conference for all of these educators in the state — so talk about a discerning audience,” Murphy said.

As these incredible musicians go to represent WHS, they also have the rare experience of performing in front of great educators in music; this performance has the possibility to help them progress in their musical journey, including college musical careers.

Burnett, although he has a strong passion for choir, plans to study mathematics but still has goals for music. “I am going into mathematics for college, but I am hoping to be a part of a jazz choir in college.”

Regardless of what career he pursues, Burnett has proven that with time, effort and the drive to be great, goals are attainable.

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About the Contributors
Oliver Lodato
Oliver Lodato, Co-Editor
Oliver Lodato is a sophomore who is hoping to develop his writing, interviewing skills and leadership (as co-editor) in his pursuit to be a journalist. In the future he hopes to pursue musical composition and performance.
Claire Boyer
Claire Boyer, Reporter
Claire Boyer is a junior at Windsor High School, a varsity long distance runner in cross country and track, the costumes lead in the school musical and an avid reader and writer. She hopes to persue degrees in literature and biology in the future.
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    Kendall MehlMar 22, 2024 at 4:08 pm

    Congratulation Owen! I hope you continue musical.