Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve

Junior Kaylie Ritter Makes Groom FFA History By Being The First To Sing In The Texas FFA State Chorus


Saffron Eugea

Junior Kaylie Ritter holds up a letter of recognition from the Texas House of Representatives that she recently received in the mail. This letter was acknowledging her for her success in the Texas FFA State Chorus and many other extra curricular activities. Ritter was the first from her chapter and one of the few members from Area One organization to participate at this level. “I was really blessed to receive this opportunity,” Ritter said. “It was a great experience and I would go back in a heartbeat.”

“Okay guys from the top one more time!”

“It will get there don’t worry.”

These are just a couple of the many sayings that I heard over the week of July 8-13 with the Texas FFA State Chorus. This year’s state convention was an experience that I will never forget. I got to meet 39 other amazing singers and people. In just a short week I made some lifelong friends.

It all started when I got to the hotel. I had just checked in with some of the sponsors that run the chorus. I was early so I sat and visited with them for a little bit as other kids slowly checked in. Almost thirty minutes later a girl checked in and we started talking. We instantly bonded over how much we love Aaron Watson and showed each other the pictures and videos we had with him and the various things he had signed for us.

Fast forward to that evening and we are all sitting in a frigid rehearsal room. We had just gotten our sheet music and sat down. I introduced myself to my roommates and we instantly became friends. They were the kind of people you wanted to be around. They always had an amazing energy and something to laugh about or a funny story from previous years.

Our first rehearsal was soon over. Before we left, the choir director showed me a new game they liked to play to get to know each other. We ended up saying everyone’s name and something they liked to do. With 40 people it soon got exhausting and confusing which made it more fun.

Once we got back to our rooms it was almost 9 in the evening, but my new friends wanted to go swimming. Who can’t resist going swimming at night in a hotel? When we got down there we realized we weren’t alone. Many of our other members had the same idea. The next hour and a half flew by and next thing we know it’s the next morning.

Day 2. Our last full day of rehearsal before we start performing. We rehearsed in sections to get more “one on one” time. Later that afternoon the Texas FFA State Officers came by and we got to give them a little preview of the upcoming week.

After the evening group rehearsal we had one more fun activity to get to know each other. We had to stand up whenever a sentence applied to us. First we stood up by Areas. The director called Area One, and everybody immediately looked at me. I was the first to come from my chapter, and one of the very few FFA members from Area One that have ever performed with them.

That night we did the same thing as the night before. We went to the pool for only an hour since the next day was our first performance. We had our first early morning since we would be opening convention with the National Anthem.

The next four days were pretty much the same and flew by. We got to our rehearsal room in the convention center and stayed there any time we weren’t performing. By Friday we had performed 13 songs from memory.

During breaks we were allowed to go to the exhibit hall and look at the vendors. One of the guys mentioned that he roped and had bought a rope that day. He asked if I had ever tried roping. I had not ever attempted roping, so he insisted that I let him teach me how to rope. Many breaks, accidents and two days later, I did learn how to rope, but it was not a pretty sight.

Long story short, this week was full of many exciting experiences, and funny adventures and stories. I made some incredible friends that I know I can count on if I ever need anything. One friend even helped me get over my pre-performance jitters and anxiety. This experience was one that I will never forget and I cannot wait until I get to go back.