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Montoursville choir students move on to districts

After auditioning for PMEA, or Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, on Oct. 22 at Williamsport Area High School, many students from Montoursville are thrilled to be advancing to the district level, which will be held Jan. 24-26.

“I am so very excited to be returning to districts this year as a Tenor 2, previously a Tenor 1,” said junior Addison Confer. “I am also very proud of those who auditioned and those who made it. The turnout this year was fabulous!”

Prior to the auditions that were held, interested students had to prepare by themselves, and with choir director Mrs. Kirstin Gist, the assigned music piece that was given out to them in advance. 

Then, on the day of, all of the students were assigned a number, and when their number was called, they had to go to a classroom and sing an excerpt, that was chosen randomly, from the piece they had prepared, and from there leave, wait, and hope for the best.

One thing that helped out students involved from Montoursville was the fact that Gist participated in PMEA

Juniors Corey Shay, Addison Confer, and Naomi Alexander are practicing music. They are getting ready to participate in districts this year, Photo taken by Mrs. Kristen Gist.

before, so now, as a teacher, her experience has helped all of them know what to expect. 

After the day of auditions was over, the judges all got together and reviewed the scores, finally finalizing all of the students’ placings, and the results were sent out to each of the music teachers. Now, the top 22 spots get to move on to districts, of which, many from Montoursville did.

Sophomore Alice Ravert, who auditioned as a Soprano 1, was very proud of herself for getting into choir districts, especially with it being her first time participating. She prepared the given piece of music for weeks before randomly singing an excerpt of the music in front of the judges.

Ravert said It was extremely nerve-racking because of putting so much work into the piece of music, and she did not want it to go to waste. Along with Ravert, senior Melody Rzeszotarski, and juniors Carson Paulhamus and Naomi Alexander are attending districts for the first time.

Junior Addison Confer, on the other hand, was not a newcomer to the audition process. “I have been to districts before as a sophomore,” he said. “It was frightening my first year. I ranked low in the line-up, which intimidated me. I felt everyone in the room was better than me, and that everyone would judge me for being a horrible singer. That was not the case, however. I met some wonderful people and even qualified for regions! I hope to see the faces of people who share a love of singing, whether they be familiar or new!”

Regarding this year, Confer said, “I got in by preparing a selected piece, ‘Achieved is the glorious work’ by Haydn. Then, I auditioned at Williamsport High School as a Tenor 2, which around 27 people auditioned for. The judges thought I did well, so I was given the privilege of making a return.”

Junior Corey Shay also went to districts last year as a sophomore and said it was amazing.

Shay said he got to meet so many people and made so many good friends that he has kept in touch with and spends time with to this day.

All the same, Shay was elated when he found out he made it to districts once again. He placed 15th on Tenor 1 and wished he could have placed higher, but was still grateful to have made it in.

While Paulhamus has been to district and regional band, which was a great experience for him to play with higher-level musicians, he was surprised to make it to choir districts, placing 14th out of the 35 that auditioned, because he just started choir this year.

“I am extremely happy that I made it to the district choir, said Paulhamus. “I was stressing for a while that I wouldn’t get in after all the work I put in, so it feels good for the stress to be gone. I’m looking forward to experiencing a different feel of music besides the band. I feel like it will help my musical abilities greatly and will be a good learning experience to help me be a better singer.’’

Rzeszotarski also shared her experience auditioning for district choir.

“Although I felt good about my audition, I was overly self-critical and was unsure of how I would be scored, said Rzeszotarski. “When Mrs. Gist announced that I placed sixth though, I just started crying out of joy and relief because it meant that all of my hard work was recognized and paid off.”

Alexander, like Rzeszotarski, noted the advantages of participating in districts.

“I was super excited to get into districts! Working up to the day of districts was super nerve-racking but getting there and meeting new people was so worth it, said junior Naomi Alexander. “We all got to work on our song together and it made the situation so much nicer.”

Though not all want to pursue a music career, for some going to PMEA districts, the experience will look good on their applications and help them with their future aspirations. 

Shay said attending districts will help if he wants to go to college for music or if he wants to join a chorus or glee club in college. It makes his college application look good and the practice of reading music right now is preparing him to excel in the future.

“I can’t wait for districts! I am excited to see how people enjoy the repertoire, and what they think of the festival,” said Confer. “My hope for this year, along with Alto 1 qualifier Melody Rzeszotarksi, is to qualify for State Choir. If I keep the rank of fourth I have right now, I’m guaranteed to go!’’

Everyone advancing is excited and ready to perform together. Rzeszotarski said she is elated about the opportunity and is looking forward to performing pieces with individuals who are also incredibly passionate about music. They are all looking forward to meeting new friends and exploring all kinds of music.

Featured image (above): Choir students auditioned for in October, and will be attending in January, the PMEA choir districts. They are (back row) sophomore Ali Ravert, juniors Addison Confer and Naomi Alexander, (front row) junior Carson Paulhamus, senior Melody Rzeszotarski and junior Corey Shay. Photo by Mrs. Kirsten Gist

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