Thomas Neil excels in both vocal and instrumental music, but it's his voice that took him to Colorado All-State Choir last week. Neil, a junior at Delta High School, was invited to participate in the men's choir after a live audition last fall.
All musicians were expected to arrive in Denver having learned their parts in advance and having memorized the music to six selections. Musicians from across the state rehearsed Feb. 2-4, then performed Saturday night in the BellCo Theatre in the Colorado Convention Center.
Rehearsal tracks were provided online, so Neil was able to sing his bass part alongside the other voices.
Neil is involved in band, jazz band and show choir at DHS. He is also active in the worship team at Cedaredge Assembly of God, and with Fireproof, a student ministry at the Delta Assembly of God.
Thomas grew up in a musical family. His father, and two of his maternal uncles, were all selected for All-State Choir. He learned the basics of guitar from his uncles and later took lessons from David Hauze. Now he gives guitar lessons, just one of the part-time jobs that keeps him busy after school.
Neil also plays the trumpet, piano and bass.
To develop his vocal abilities, and help him prepare for All-State auditions, he took lessons from Dr. Graham Anduri, director of vocal studies at Colorado Mesa University.
On a more consistent basis, DHS vocal music instructor Julia Nicholas has helped Thomas develop musicality and vocal techniques.
Although he's only a junior, Neil is eyeing a career in music, specifically as a recording engineer.