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Slinger students attend vocal festival at UW Milwaukee

posted Apr 3, 2016, 1:33 PM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Megan Cichon, Entertainment Editor

Posted February 16th, 2016 (Updated February 17th, 2016)

On the 5th and 6th of February, seven students from Slinger traveled to UW Milwaukee to join up with about 50 to 60 passionate musicians for a choral experience like no other. The goal of the university is to provide high quality young musicians with the chance to enhance their music education. UW Milwaukee also used the event as an opportunity to recruit future music majors to their school.

It all started several months back with Slinger’s choral director, Mrs. Peters. She received an email from UW Milwaukee--more specifically the Peck Center of the Arts. She was asked to turn in a list of Slinger’s top choral students, based on their skills in sight singing, rhythm reading, ability to sing in a wide variety of languages, ability to independently learn music, ability to perform high class solos in front of a group of people, and ability to focus for hours in a choral rehearsal. She was also asked to describe the student’s vocal color (how they sound) and timbre (quality of their voice). She turned in applications for 13 students. Of those 13, only 7 were able to attend the festival.

A few weeks before the event, Chase Lowen, Thomas Dubnicka, Elizabeth Weiland, Megan Cichon, Dylan Winslow, Madeline Stadel, and Joseph DeHays all received 5 pieces of music from Mrs. Peters for the event. Although the vocal festival was primarily a solo festival, there would be a choral performance by the “UWM High School Honors Choir”, which these 7 were to be a part of. They practiced by themselves, and with Mrs. Peters to prepare these difficult pieces.

Upon arrival at UW Milwaukee, the choral rehearsal began immediately. The first rehearsal lasted 3.5 hours, then the students broke for dinner, and then they rehearsed again for another 1.75 hours. At the end of the first day, the UWM High School Honors Choir had four of the five pieces partly ready for performance. The first day at UW Milwaukee ended with a stunning recital from students and staff at UW Milwaukee that showcased the music program’s incredibly talented majors.

The second day at UW Milwaukee started at 9:00, with all the students breaking into small groups to show each other their prepared solos. Each student performed individually in front of their group, and received feedback from the group, along with the college professor supervising the session. Another 2.5 hours were spent in a choir rehearsal after that, and another group solo session after rehearsal. After dinner, another 2.5 hours were spent brushing up the 4 pieces that were to be performed at the concert that night. (One of the pieces had to be dropped due to time constraints.)

The concert started at 7:00 in Bader Hall. It began with UW Milwaukee’s Concert Chorale, who sang an impressive set of three songs after only having been singing together for less than a month. Soloists who auditioned to perform for the concert performed excellently, and they were followed by the UWM High School Honors Choir, who performed “Regina Coeli” (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), “Dwijavanthi” (arr. Ethan Sperry), “She Walks in Beauty Like the Night” (Kevin Memley), and “Dubula” (arr. Stephen Hatfield), the last of which was choreographed and sung from memory.

The final concert left many people somewhat stunned, simply because no one thought that mere high schoolers could get up such difficult pieces in such little time. The Slinger students in attendance gained great confidence in their ability to quickly learn music, and they gained even more mastery over their own voices. The trip was well worth it to every student in attendance, and we will most likely see students from Slinger attending this prestigious event next year.