But this spring, honor will be bestowed not only on the ensemble, but on the high school’s entire chorus.
In the fall, the choir auditioned for and was chosen to perform at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All State Music Conference on April 18 in Hershey.
This is the first appearance at an all state conference for the Senior High Choir, choir director Sherry Morgan said. The Indian Valley Ensemble has had these kinds of opportunities a number of times, but this is the first for the whole choir, Morgan said.
More than 180 auditions were submitted and a small number of ensembles — from various genres of music in grade levels from elementary through collegiate — were chosen to perform during the three-day conference, Morgan said.
The students learned of their accomplishment in mid-September, and they have been working hard to prepare for the prestigious opportunity through full rehearsals, small group lessons and some after-school rehearsals, Morgan said.
“It’s the 75th anniversary, and to get this (honor) is really great,” said student Tobin Simonetti, who sings bass II.
The event is a professional conference for music educators throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Since it is a paid conference, the concert is not open to the general public.
However, the choir is set to perform the same concert for family members and the community at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Lewistown. There is no admission charge.
On April 18, the choir will travel to Hershey, where it is scheduled to give a 45-minute performance during the concert.
All the pieces the choir will perform are a cappella, and include sacred harp-style selections, folk songs, choral standards and spirituals.
Student Jesse Crosson, who sings bass I, commended his teacher, saying the program is a good mixture of peppy and slow, expressive music.
“It will be an enjoyable concert,” Crosson said.
Student David Wright, who sings tenor I, said, “The whole choir has matured in its musicianship ... (the accomplishment) is really going to help the next people to come.”
Jack Mernin, a student tenor I who participated in similar events with the ensemble and district and regional choir, said, “It really says a lot about our hard work.”
Mernin said he was more excited than nervous. “We’ve worked hard enough and we are familiar enough (with performing) to go and enjoy it,” he said.
Morgan agreed, saying, “It's been very exciting to watch the choir embrace this opportunity and really strive to attain choral excellence. I'm particularly excited that the entire choir gets to experience this type of performance.”
“However, no one gets left behind this time, and all the choral students will have the chance to demonstrate their excellence," he said.
This year’s choir has 72 members in grades 9-12, Morgan said.
The conference is attended by music educators from elementary through collegiate levels, and it offers clinics and interest sessions as well as concerts by the groups that are invited to perform.
Indian Valley High School regional choir member Tobin Simonetti plays the conga drums during a recent practice.