By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Kera Beshirs has seen substantial success in her budding singing career. She has been selected to represent Newkirk Public Schools (NPS) three times on the Oklahoma All State Choir, including her first as a high school freshman. She is now looking to take that career a step further, as she is already eyeing a singing career, teaching students what she already loves: singing.
Sister Raychell also won All State as a freshman in 2018 – 2019. Although she competed for All State this year with Kera, she did not make it, but instead was invited to sing with the Northeastern Oklahoma State University College Choir, in Tahlequah.
Kera is thrilled at the recent honor.
“It was an amazing experience, because I worked really hard to get there,” she said.
While many kids sing from a young age, for Kera, it started becoming a true love in third grade.
“I joined a choir at one point, because I like singing,” she said. “I think that is my passion.”
Students must be nominated to compete for All State, and go through two rounds before being selected.
“They have to learn all of their music, and learn to sing certain sections of it,” NPS Choir Director Elizabeth Odom said. “There is a lot of work that goes into preparing for these auditions.”
Kera selected “Huti Ate Rio,” and began learning the song in September. She then had two auditions: Enid (Okla.) High School in October, and Rose State College, Midwest City, Okla., in November.
Although she was selected for the choir, it wasn’t without troubles, primarily nervousness.
“I just had to relax, and it went well,” she said. “When I first walked in there, I was really nervous, but I took a few deep breaths, and after that, all that was on my mind was singing.”
Odom is happy with her success, as she did much of the work herself.
“She did a lot of this on her own – notes, rhythm, expression, learning new languages,” Odom said. “She had to do all of this hard work and make it musical for the audition process.”
School administrators are thrilled with the honor.
“I am very pleased to see Newkirk students excelling in choir,” NPS Superintendent Scott Kempenich said. “We have a growing choir department led by Ms. Odom, and I am really excited to see our students perform and gain the skills needed to elevate this program higher.”
Newkirk High School Principal Cathy Bible added, “We are always proud of our students. They achieve goals above and beyond what is expected. We are thankful to have Kera at NHS representing our values and ideals.”
Kera will perform with the Oklahoma All State Choir Jan. 6 – 8 in Oklahoma City, and is already looking to a choral role longterm as a director herself.
“I want to be a choir teacher. Choir is my passion, and I love helping other people learn how to make their lives better,” she said.
As for the All State recognition, she is humbly taking it in stride, and counts her mentors for her success.
“I don’t think I’d be able to make it without Ms. Odom and Ms. Faulkner,” she said. “My sister (also) helped me a lot.”