Kearney High School Choir Is A Family Affair

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Bulldogs find the right notes for district and state success

The Kearney High School choir rehearses on a warm spring day under the direction of Dustin McKinney.

“That’s my family in there. I love these people. We all learn together. It’s a very beautiful thing.”

Macey Hopkins, Kearney High School senior

Kearney, Mo., April 28, 2021: Macey Hopkins loves being with her family, which is why she loves being part of the Kearney High School choir.

Twenty-seven Bulldogs were selected for the Northwest Missouri All District Choir, according to KHS Choir Director Dustin McKinney. Two of those Kearney kids – Macey and Chloe Bonham – were then chosen to join the All State Choir. KHS also had an impressive number of choir students who earned gold and/or silver ratings during the state Solo/Small Ensemble Contest this year.

When Macey, a senior, thinks back at the start of a school year that was marred by COVID-19, she can hardly believe the success. The key, she believes, was that every member of the choir was committed to doing the hard work of improving themselves during the time when they were not allowed to rehearse together in person.

KHS senior Macey Hopkins

“Under the circumstances, we did a lot better than I thought we would do,” she said. “We definitely learned to have a lot better work ethic. We each held up our own end, so whenever we would practice together, we weren’t trying to fix our individual parts, we were really focused on improving as a group.”

Performing arts like choir are just as important as “fundamentals” like math and English, according to Macey. They give creative students a nurturing space where they can develop their craft and find their voice.

“It’s a way to express yourself. There is no other class like this where you get to be yourself and make music. It’s more than that, because it’s more of a community. These are people you create things with, not just sit in a classroom and learn,” Macey said. “That’s my family in there. I love these people. We all learn together. It’s a very beautiful thing.”

The future of choir at KHS is promising, she added, especially under the direction of Mr. McKinney. He knows how to turn lukewarm students into full-blown choir kids.

“Mr. McKinney is a very good teacher. He’s very welcoming to kids who not only love music, but maybe just do this to get a class out of the way. There’ve been a lot of kids that come in that mindset and then they stay on for years because it’s such a good program,” Macey said. “It’s more than a class. It’s a family”

KHS Students Selected for the 2021 All District Choir:

  • Eleandra Cooper
  • Heidi Eberhardt
  • Macey Hopkins
  • Hailey Parker
  • Jessica Riley
  • Ivy Taylor (Freshman)
  • Madison Tevebaugh
  • Tarena Tolar
  • Maleah Bell
  • Chloe Bonham
  • Shelby Flanigan
  • Anya Kuhn
  • Madison Philippeit
  • Tess Roberts
  • Kailey Romero
  • Makinzy Shockey
  • Luke Bailey
  • Joe Ewer
  • Keenan Haney
  • Grant Jeffries
  • Daniel Robertson
  • Thaddeus Tucker (Freshman)
  • Preston White
  • Riley Hungate (Freshman)
  • Trystan Lickteig
  • Joey Moore
  • Isaiah Skidmore

2021 All State Choir Selectees:

  • Chloe Bonham
  • Macey Hopkins

2021 State Solo/Small Ensemble Contest Results:

Gold Rating (Top Honors)

  • Hailey Parker, Solo
  • Luke Bailey, Solo
  • Heidi Eberhardt, Solo
  • Macey Hopkins, Solo
  • Anya Kuhn, Solo
  • Eleandra Cooper, Solo
  • Kailey Romero, Solo
  • Bonham Quartet, SSAA Ensemble (Chloe Bonham, Macey Hopkins, Eleandra Cooper, Shelby Flanigan)
  • Hopkins Quartet, SATB Ensemble (Macey Hopkins, Chloe Bonham, Joe Ewer, Grant Jeffries)
  • Lohman 6, SAB Ensemble (Freshman Ensemble: Ivy Taylor, Eden Wooten, Hailey Stocksick, Eliza Lohman, Thaddeus Tucker, Riley Hungate)

Silver Rating

  • Hailey Parker, Piano
  • Kendall Ernzen, Solo

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