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Yuma Catholic choir wins national award

CBS 13's April Hettinger speaks with the award-winning singers

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Yuma Catholic Golden Shamrock Choir took home a second place silver prize in a virtual national competition, masks and all.

David Vielbig, a junior at Yuma Catholic High School says it is an honor to still be able to compete in a school year unlike any other.

"Even though we weren't able to be there, it was great to be able to do a recordance and send them and still get the exact same feedback from the judges like we would have been just exactly there," Vielbig stated.

Half the students in Brandon Coz class are virtual while the other half are in-person, making it difficult to blend their vocals.

"I offer zoom lessons, I send them music, I make piano tracks of their specific vocal parts," Coz said.

Mr. Coz is the performing arts director for the school as well as the choir teacher.

The Shamrocks won a custom plaque for their winnings against five other choirs in their division.

But, senior Laura Schmidt says they met up in-person to record their submission for the national competition.

"Practicing alone the music and like our sections and then like when we come together and sing it like you really realize there is like so many different like sections and workings that have to come together for this music to be," Schmidt explained.

When they did come together, a long awaited reunion motivated the choir to give it all they've got, according to senior Heathcliff Paul.

"We finally get to see each other after such a long time and it just inspired everybody to do our best," Paul said.

The students see this extracurricular as more than just music.

"The choir's a family," Vielbig said.

And, they continue to bond.

"It's so great to just form a new family every time I do it," Paul stated.

But, the vocal improvement was just as noticeable as the teamwork.

"From there until now, it's night and day for the sound of the choir," Coz said.

The Shamrocks were a point and a half short of a gold rating, one more thing to work for next year.

Tonight at 10, 13 On Your Side's April Hettinger speaks with the proud teacher and honorary choir students.

As Seen on TV / Local News / Yuma Education
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing april.hettinger@kecytv.com.

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