MCHS students to sing at choir festivals

LEWISTOWN – Music is more than a song played on the radio or sung in the shower.

For four young vocalists from Mifflin County High School, it’s a passion that’s carrying them to multiple music festivals this spring.

All-Eastern Choir

Dylan Crosson, tenor I, Zanna Hannon, alto II, and Katie Specht, alto II, will represent their school at the National Association of Music Educators Eastern Division Choral Festival held April 4 to 7 in Hartford, Conn.

MCHS choir director Sherry Morgan said the students performed and auditioned at district, regional and state choirs last year before advancing to All-Eastern, which is held every other year. This spring, they will join about 350 vocalists from 12 states and the District of Columbia to represent their school music programs at the event. Morgan said it is an exceptional honor to have multiple students advance from the same school.

“To have three students going is special,” she said, adding that she is proud of the effort they put forward to advance through each level of competition.

Crosson and Hannan will participate in the mixed choir, which includes both male and female voices, she said. Specht will participate in the first ever treble choir, comprised only of female voices.

“It takes a lot of work to get to the point of going to All-Easterns,” Crosson said.

Each choir festival leading up to All-Eastern requires hours of rehearsal and an audition for the next level of competition, he explained.

“People don’t realize how hard you have to work to sing well,” Morgan said. “Singing as well as (the students) do doesn’t happen by itself.”

She said the trip to All-Eastern is not financed by the district, and it was heartwarming to receive donations from the community in support of the trip.

The students were also appreciative of the help. They said sometimes music programs are overlooked, but the arts remain an important part of education.

“People look at music as subordinate to sports,” Crosson said, but music is in so many aspects of daily life.

He said the music program at the high school plays into other opportunities in the future. After graduation, Crosson looks forward to pursuing undergraduate education to become a minister of worship in the midwest.

For Specht and Hannon, choir is a stress reliever.

“It’s a good way to express yourself,” Specht said.

Hannon agreed, adding that there could be a billion things to do in a day, but “singing gets your mind off of it.”

All-State Choir

Sara Munson, soprano II, will represent MCHS at the PMEA All-State Choir festival from April 17 to 20 in Erie. She will sing under the direction of Steven Sametz, professor of choral music at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

Munson said she is a seasoned musician and has been more heavily involved in band in the past. After giving district choir a try, her new activity snowballed from there.

“I never thought it would blossom into something so big in my life,” she said.

Munson said she is looking forward to performing “Carmina Burana,” by Carl Orff, a selection of music that takes approximately one hour to complete. The state choir is performing 7 movements from the piece, Morgan said.

Preparing for multiple music festivals in both band and choir can be a little overwhelming, but Munson said the hard work is worth the effort.

“I want people to see me as a well-rounded musician…not just the band girl,” she said.

Munson said participating in the festivals helps her grow as a musician, and the guest conductors are valuable teachers.

“She has worked really hard” and made a remarkable amount of vocal progress, Morgan said about Munson.

Morgan said Munson, a junior, already is considering the possibility of pursuing music education or therapy after high school.