As a tune-up for its performance at the Texas Music Educators Association next month, Kantorei, Permian High School’s varsity choir, will offer a preview concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, 1310 N. Farm to Market Road 1788.

The concert is Feb. 5 and the target date for tickets to go on sale is Jan. 16 through the Wagner Noel, Head Choir Director Aaron Hawley said. Costs will be $10, $15 and $18, depending on seating.

Hawley said the choir is inviting local schools to bring their choirs to the concert. Their portion of the ticket cost will be picked up by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, he said.

“That’s really nice of them to do that and help us out,” he added.

The TMEA convention is Feb. 14 through Feb. 17. Kantorei will perform at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Antonio. Music will include “Alleluia,” a set from the Mozart Requiem, “Seinn O,” “Even When He is Silent” and “Kanaval.”

Kantorei was chosen as a TMEA invited choir, Hawley said.

The cost of the trip is $65,000 to $75,000 for about 60 students. Hawley said this is a chance for the community to support the students.

“The school district has been very generous and we’re very appreciative of the fact that they’re going to pay a large portion of that, but this concert is to fill in the gaps,” Hawley said. He added that some of the expense is to rent the venue.

He added that many community businesses and organizations have stepped up to help.

The concert will offer a preview of the San Antonio performance, which is free. Hawley added that many families will make the trip to see the TMEA concert.

“TMEA is a massive convention. I think over 30,000 people will be in attendance. Not all of those are choir people. It’s band, choir and orchestra. We will have a good 1,500, 2,000 choir directors who will hear us perform and that really is significant because that helps our community be recognized. It helps Permian High School be recognized within our profession,” Hawley said.

“The purpose of those concerts is to kind of set a standard across the state as to, ‘Listen, this is what we should be doing.’ I think there were 12 different organizations that were chosen to perform and that’s high school, middle school and elementary.

The selection process goes back to May 2017 when Hawley said more than 150 different choirs submitted audition tracks. Twelve out of those 150 were chosen, he added.

“We know it’s an honor for our choir, but we really think it’s really an honor for the whole school, even … the city because a lot of great music has come from West Texas,” along with a lot of TMEA presidents, Hawley said.

Within the past five to eight years, Lee High School in Midland and Andrews High School have performed at TMEA.

“West Texas has good fine arts. It makes our competitions tough. It makes us have to step up, but we are recognized in the state and this just helps us do that again,” Hawley said.

Kennison Vardeman, a 17-year-old senior and choir president, is in his second year in Kantorei. He and fellow 17-year-old senior and choir vice president, Lauren Simmons, are excited about the venture.

“It’s just an insane honor that I feel like we don’t even realize how big it is yet,” Vardeman said. “It’s such a crazy once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us. It’s just awesome to be able to do it my senior year.”

Vardeman, who is also in Black Magic at Permian, said preparing for the performance has made the year feel different.

“We go at such a fast pace already in this class,” he said. “To go even the extra mile on that all year has definitely made it different. I would definitely say it has sunk in, but not completely.”

Simmons also is in her second year as part of Kantorei. She added that this is a chance to show that Permian is about more than just football.

“… I think it’s a big honor for all of us in the choir program to be able to be involved in something so big. I think it’s going to be a lot different just because it’s more serious than how we’ve taken just regular choir concerts for our parents. I think it’s just a lot more intense than we’re used to,” Simmons said.