In my junior year (1967-1968) we went down to Corpus Christi for the Buccaneer Festival. We practiced our butts off. Mr. Casey was our choral director. One day as we were practicing he played some tapes of choirs that were said to be our biggest competition: Hobbs, Permian, and Richardson. Each tape that played made us feel good because we knew we were way better than what we heard.
Then he played a tape of a choir and we were crestfallen. This choir he played was superb. And they were singing one of our songs! We knew we couldn't hold a candle to this choir and this would be the choir that would win. We couldn't imagine who they were because it was a five state competition. After the song came to an end, we turned to him and asked who it was. To our amazement it was us! We were stunned. When you're standing on the risers singing you can't tell what you sound like from the audience. We couldn't believe we were that good.
And win we did. We won all three competitions: The Girl's Choir, The Boy's Choir, and the Acappella Choir. We had so much talent that year in addition to the Gatlins (Steve and Rudy). I suppose my biggest surprise was that there weren't others besides the Gatlins who went on to have music careers.
The following year (my senior year 1969!) we were a guest high school choir at a competition of University choirs in St. Louis. We were told that we were the only ones to receive a standing ovation. I have such great memories of those years