MILTON — Last year, about 900 students auditioned for choirs across the state, said Alicia Coon, general music and choral director at Bennett C. Russell Elementary School. Only 200 move forward to compete for regional and state choirs.

The goal for most students is to make their school choirs. Others strive to be in the regional and state choirs, which perform in either Gainesville or Tampa.

Coon was pleased to announce that out of the Cardinal (school mascot) Chorus at Bennett C. Russell Elementary School, 136 students auditioned, with 90 singing at the annual Christmas and spring events. Ten made the all-county choir, while two students made it to regions and one to state.

Students who made the all-county choir are Ava Kibodeaux, Charity Barrett, Michelle Kirkham, Danielle Moody, Addison Newton, Owen Diamond, LaQuentin Longmire, Lilyana Green, Lexi Bender and Lilly Nava.

Two students, Katie Madison and John Thies, made it to the regional choir and performed earlier this year in Gainesville.

One student, Michelle Kirkham, made the state choir and performed with others students from the state at a concert in Tampa for the Florida Music Educators Regional / State competition.

"Choir auditions begin in the second week of school," Coon said.

Flyers will be sent home with all the information needed for students to audition. Practices are before the school day begins. Auditions are open to students in the 5th grade.

"We consider their grades, behavior and singing ability," Coon said of the selection process. "Students who participate in this extra-curricular activity receive music training in vocal production to establish note placement, breath support, posture, diction, and enunciation. Along with choral techniques, students who participate in chorus learn focus, responsibility and team work."