Early on the morning of May 1, Mrs. Marion Drew, Director of Choral Music & Theater at Mount Saint Mary Academy, asked seven of her Chorale students to huddle together in the choir room for some big news.
As Caroline Coey, Michelle Colman, Alexandra Gomes, Kelly Meade, Sydney Nigro, Abby (Abigail) Varker and Sarah Wiggins gathered closer, the announcement came – all seven girls who auditioned last weekend for the New Jersey All-State Chorus were accepted. Caroline Coey received the best score among the group.
Mrs. Drew noted, “Out of 1,200 singers from the entire state of New Jersey, they were selected into either the Treble or Mixed Choirs. This is an outstanding achievement and a great accomplishment for the Mount Music Department."
According to Abby Varker, the audition process was rigorous with singers required to perform a solo plus a very simple, short piece; scales, and site reading. She noted – and all students echoed the fact that – Mrs. Drew prepared them perfectly for the experience. They had prepared twice a week for approximately 8 to 9 weeks aside from their normal participation in the MSMA Chorale.
“For me, being a part of the All-State Chorus means the world,” said Alexandra Gomes. “I eat, sleep, and breathe music. It’s my life. Even when we were in the warm-up room for auditions, it was exciting to be with other singers who consider this their passion.
“We’ve all encouraged each other,” added Abby. “We have this little family that we are a part of, cheering each other on.”
Michelle, Kelly, Alexandra, and Sarah are all part of the All-State Chorus’ Treble Choir, while Caroline, Abby and Sydney will perform in the Mixed Chorus.
As the girls credited the MSMA music department for their excellent preparation and success, Sarah Wiggins remarked, “This is great exposure for our school’s music department. There is a lot of talent buried inside that part of our community.”
Many of the students hope to incorporate their passion for music in their future career goals. For example, Caroline aims to double major in education and music, while Sarah wants to blend her love for music with anthropology because she appreciates different cultures and the types of music they enjoy, and Alexandra wants to pursue music therapy.
“Experiencing the support we received from the music department and the improvements we saw in each other has meant so much,” concluded Abby. “There is nothing greater that bonds us together than this experience.”