By Karola Castaneda
As many students went on winter break and began planning for their holidays, junior Amanda Mikesell, and seniors Maggie Austin and Libby Weber were preparing to go to the vocal All-State Competition for a four-day weekend. The three girls and band director Dan Blumenthal traveled to Rochester on Dec. 6 to 8 for the competition.
The competition included students selected from all over New York State. At the competition they first performed a piece with all the other winners, and then the girls received a different piece, had a day or two to rehearse it, and then performed again as a group.
However, the real preparation began long before this weekend. It was nonstop, independent, and at home, on their own time, since the spring. Mikesell had to learn Latin and Russian because the group music piece required it. Austin said that the most consuming part of the preparation was learning Latin, “which took months.” Before Rochester they had to audition at All-County at East Syracuse-Minoa High School and had to receive a perfect score in order to be selected. Based on their performance at All-County the girls were selected for different sections; Weber and Mikesell for Women’s Chorus and Austin for Mixed Chorus.
After all of that work, was it worth it? Mikesell thought so because “you get to meet a lot of people who have a similar interest as you.” Mikesell said that the experience was fulfilling, and “it was a lot of fun doing what you love and meeting new people at the same time.” Austin agreed with Mikesell and said that the experience “was incredible; there were like 300 boys and girls. I will never forget it.” Weber said that it was amazing going out there and singing in front of the crowd; “I was selected to do a solo and it was a lot of pressure, but at the same time it was great to be on a stage where the singers are as passionate about their work as I am.”
“I’m proud of the level of commitment the girls took upon themselves,” said music teacher Elizabeth Quackenbush. “Even though they had to learn different languages and in some cases only got one minute to learn song pieces, they kept working in order to get better and continued with the process."
”Maggie deserves All-State because she’s one of the most hard working individuals I’ve ever met in my life,” says senior Ryan Adelberg. Senior Allie Butler, a friend of Austin, said that she was very proud of her because “it takes a lot of work to get into All-State." “I think it was a little stressful for her, but she was definitely more excited then nervous,” Butler says. Junior Chris Russo, friend of Weber, said that it was a great feeling knowing that she was “reaching for the stars.” “Libby has an amazing voice and she’s wonderful. I’m glad that she’s taking all of these opportunities because she will make it somewhere,” says Russo. Sophomore Jared Adelberg, friend of Webber and Mikesell, said that he’s used to their accomplishments. “Amanda’s voice makes me melt,” said Adelberg.