Crusaders win gold at state ISSMA competition

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Scecina students recently participated in the annual Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) District and State Solo and Ensemble competitions. All five students who qualified for the district competition earned a silver or gold rating. Students who received a gold rating at the district competition were invited to perform at the state competition on February 18 at Perry Meridian High School.

The silver-rated ensemble included junior John-Paul Chamblee, junior Tanner McCormick-Messer, sophomore Kaylee Campbell, and sophomore Journee Thomas. This group competed in the barbershop quartet event and sang a 1950s classic, “Sh-Boom.”

Scecina Music Director Chris Ritchie proudly shared, “These students are so incredibly talented, and I am fortunate to work with them daily. They play a vital role in our choir classes as leaders and are the best representation of our student body. They are part of the foundation that leads our groups to success, and I am thankful they can each be recognized for their tremendous talent.”

John-Paul Chamblee, Vanessa Reynolds, Journee Thomas, Kaylee Campbell, and Tanner McCormick-Messer

Tanner McCormick-Messer also performed as a soloist. Tanner performed “The Vagabond” and received a gold rating of 9.5, but due to a technical glitch, he was awarded a silver rating. Nevertheless, Tanner’s score is the best Scecina has ever received at a district competition.

Ritchie concludes, “I am so fortunate to have worked with Tanner this year on his solo! He did a near-perfect job, but unfortunately, a technical error on my part kept him from competing at state. Tanner is an extremely talented singer, and I’m excited to see where his voice takes him during his senior year!”

The gold-rated division soloists who advanced to state are junior Vanessa Reynolds and sophomore Journee Thomas. Vanessa sang “Lass of the Low Countree” and Journee sang “Deep River.” 

Journee Thomas

Vanessa Reynolds

“When I started to sing for the judge, I felt at ease because I love to sing, and I knew I had to sing my heart out! I was so excited when I found out that I received gold. I was very proud of myself and so very thankful for all of the support I had from Mr. Ritchie, my friends, and my wonderful family,” wrote Journee Thomas.

“Journee and Vanessa did an amazing job at district and state competitions this year. Their voices are brilliant and their leadership even more so,” emphasized Ritchie. “I am incredibly proud of both for taking on the challenge of the competition and receiving well-deserved gold ratings.”

Scecina President Joe Therber adds, “Journee, Tanner, John-Paul, Vanessa, and Kaylee are incredibly gifted singers. Their love of music and the faith and energy they bring to their pursuits is a joy to see and experience. Great job, and thank you for developing your God-given abilities!”

According to, the Indiana State School Music Association’s mission statement is to provide educationally evaluated music performance activities for the students and teachers of the state of Indiana, to assist in the development of performance-oriented assessment of state and national musical academic standards, and to offer educational support to fulfill this mission.

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