2020 All-State Chorus

2020 Nebraska All-State Chorus Update:

Audition and Virtual Ensemble Guidelines:  Please read carefully

All-State Chorus Conductor Bio

Dr. Lee Nelson is the Patricia R. Zahn Chair in Choral Conducting and director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Nelson conducts the Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor (Men’s Choir) and teaches beginning, advanced conducting and choral literature at Wartburg College. He also serves as the artistic director of Christmas with Wartburg. Wartburg College recognized Nelson’s work by awarding him the John O. Chellevold Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service.

Under Dr. Nelson’s direction, the choir has performed at multiple ACDA conventions, including the 2017 National Convention, and an unprecedented performance for the White House and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Internationally renowned composer Morten Lauridsen praised Nelson and the Wartburg Choir’s performance of his “O Magnum Mysterium” stating: “It was in the top echelon of any performance of that piece by any choir that I have ever heard.” The choir was honored as the national winners of The American Prize, College/University Choir Division in 2017. Nelson and the Wartburg Choir tour throughout the United States every year and they have sang in 12 different countries over the last 10 years.

A highly sought-after conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Nelson has directed all state and honor choirs throughout the United States and internationally. He has been invited to conduct at Carnegie Hall in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2019 & 2020. Earlier in his career, Nelson won the National ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition in Los Angeles and he received the Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year, awarded by ACDA of Minnesota.

A champion of contemporary music, Nelson regularly commissions and performs new works of choral literature. ECS Publishing distributes the Lee Nelson Choral Series both nationally and internationally. Dr. Nelson earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona.

Audition Information

Please note:  The NMEA auditions manual will be undergoing revisions to address the needs of our 2020 convention and All-State ensembles.  It is recommended that you do not refer to previous editions of audition manuals as they will not reflect what is happening in our current audition situation.  More information will be made available as we work through this process.


Soon We Will Be Done                                                          Kyle Pederson (b. 1971)
            SATB with 4 spoken word soloists and piano
            Galaxy Music Publishers (ECS)

Soon We Will Be Done

  • Student will perform the piece in its entirety.
  • Spoken word solos in measures 59-74 will not be part of the audition
  • Students will sing oo, oh, or text that is written for their part
  • The spoken words in measures 109-110 will be part of the audition

Previously announced repertoire intended for use by the 2020 All-State choir, with one exception, will be used for the 2021 ensemble.  That one selection, Soon We Will Be Done by Kyle Pederson, will be pulled from that list to be used as this year’s audition and virtual ensemble performance piece.  Another work will be chosen by Dr. Lee Nelson to fill the 2021 program.

Dr. Nelson, Chair of Choral Activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, along with composer Kyle Pederson collaborating at the piano, will produce a conducting video to assist in the creation of the virtual ensemble.  In addition, they will – with the help of Wartburg choral students - work to produce a video for each choral part for the purpose of teaching the audition material.  These videos will replace (for this year only) the rehearsal tracks usually offered for purchase in the NMEA website store.  Links to these videos will be available (free of charge) in early August.


August 17         Registration for All-State Auditions, regular fee of $20 through Sept. 7
September 8    LateRegistration for All-State Auditions through Sept. 14

September 24         Choir Audition window opens at 12:00 pm
September 26         Choir Audition window closes at 11:59 pm

October 19       Announcement of Selected Ensembles at 8:00 am


NMEA will again utilize the services of OpusEvent to collect student auditions.  The format and procedures will be much the same as last year, with a couple notable changes.  Instead of excerpts of 3 pieces, students will perform Soon We Will be Done in its entirety.  Also, each auditionee will perform a chromatic scale, a cappella, as detailed below.


  • Soprano and Tenor: F major ascending and descending one time only a cappella
  • Alto and Bass: B flat major ascending and descending one time only a cappella


  • Soprano and Tenor: E flat major one time only with underlying chords provided
  • Alto and Bass: C major one time only with underlying chords provided

Chromatic Scale

  • Soprano and Tenor: Ascending and descending chromatic scale beginning on E flat.
  • Alto and Bass:  Ascending and descending chromatic scale beginning on C.
  • Like major scales performed in auditions past, the starting pitch will be given.  Following a count off, the students will sing a chromatic scale with the aid of a click track.


Audition Region Guide (click to download)

Audition manuals and links to rehearsal videos will be available soon!


On October 19, students will be notified of their acceptance into the All-State Choir.  Those students will then produce a video utilizing the conducting video produced by Dr. Nelson for the purpose of being used in the virtual choir.  It will be critical, in order to produce a quality virtual presentation, that the students carefully follow this video while creating their own.  The rehearsal videos created by the Wartburg students will aid in this process, as they will be created with those students in the video closely following Dr. Nelson’s conducting.  Exact technical directions (sound quality, use of head phones, etc…) as well as directions on proper performance attire are forthcoming.  It is asked that these videos be submitted by Nov. 6, 2020.