Inspiring Young Singers
By Heidi Zemach
Honors Choir delegates (L-R) Brett Chase, Nathan Feemster, Eileen Audette, Annie Hood, Angelena Ledet
Five students from Seward High School have the honor of being selected to be part of Kenai Peninsula Boroughs Honors Choir. Eileen Audette, Brett Chase, Nathan Feemster, Annie Hood, and Angelena Ledet all were selected to attend after sending in individual digital audio tapes reflecting their talents. They were given study certain musical selections to learn in Seward, and will join in singing them in Kenai Oct 26th with the Honors Choir in Kenai along with some 100 other top singers selected from high schools throughout the borough. They will spend about a day and a half practicing, and will then perform in the large group the next night. They also will have the opportunity to audition for All States, and from there, All Regions, and All Northwest Regions.
Its really exciting experience, and its new, said Ledet. Ive always wanted to be a singer, so I guess it works out.
We will be representing our ever-growing music program, setting a good example for future music students of Seward High, said Chase.
I am unsure of the last choir students from Seward to make this choir, but judging from the reactions of other choir teachers, it’s been a while, said choirmaster Kyle Schneider, a singer by training. Honor Choir is just that – an opportunity for the best and brightest from each school to compete on an academic level, and given the selectiveness of the group, it is quite an honor.
The students will be decked out in their new black formals: the young women with black dresses, the young men with tuxedos and bright green ties, all fitted and purchased by the students or their parents.
To give all his choristers the chance to see, and find inspiration in great performances by professionals in their field, Schneider has arranged for three trips to Anchorage. On Oct. 7, Schneider took 19 music students from the middle and high school choirs to Anchorage to get a taste of opera. They dressed up for the occasion in their best finery, and attended a student dress rehearsal of a concert recitalincluding scenes from various operas sung in French, Latin, and English.
Annie Hood was struck by the wide variety of spellbinding moments she experienced in the French opera: Because they had really weird royal family comedies, and they had the nuns being executed in the war–so it was different kinds of spellbinding moments.
“What amazed me wasn’t the student’s reaction, but rather, the intensity of their reaction. None were negative or off-putting (as many may have assumed), but rather their reactions were very inquisitive. The following day, we planned to discuss the trip for a brief period, but instead spent a good portion of our class sharing thoughts, questions, and reactions to the events of the evening before.”
They are looking forward to returning to Anchorage for a student dress rehearsal of the opera, La Boheme, and also for the musical, South Pacific.
While the tickets were free, it costs several hundred dollars for the school bus fare to Anchorage, and Schneider has asked for assistance from the Seward Music Association, the local music boosters group. SMA recently funded the purchase of themed black polo shirts for all Seward choir and band students to wear at informal music occasions. It also has for decades funded things such as scholarships, and musical workshops and performances through annual sales of its community calendarwhich is currently under production. SMA invites the public to order advance copies of these calendars, to attend SMA evening meetings on the third Monday of each month in the library basement, or to get involved in helping to promote and increase musical opportunities in the schools and community.