The Memorial High School Varsity Treble Choir performed via video Feb. 11 for up to 31,000 attendees at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the largest in the world.
The MHS group was one of only two treble choirs selected from hundreds of submissions. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the three-day conference was held virtually this year. Ensembles invited by TMEA demonstrate the highest level of achievement in music education. It is only through the genuine commitment and collaboration of every student and director that an ensemble achieves this honor.
The MHS group rehearsed many long hours after school and on weekends in the fall under the direction of Choir Director Lawrence Johnson, and then recorded a video concert of six songs to show case their amazing talents at the event. Family members were invited to attend the recording session at The Clarion at Brazosport College because the finished performance could not be posted online due to copyright restrictions.
We chatted with three of the students in the MHS Treble Choir about their experience:
What was your reaction when you learned your choir had been selected to perform at the 2021 TMEA Convention?
Senior Sabine Waldron: “It was good to know that the hard work from the previous years of people who have been a part of our choir allowed us this great honor of being one of two invited Treble Choirs at the largest music convention in the world.”
Junior Carissa Nair: “I was very excited when Mr. Johnson told me that our choir was chosen to record a performance for TMEA, especially when he told us how monumental this was and that it was the first time in recent history that a Memorial choir had been chosen to perform at the convention.”
Sophomore Lauren Ziegenhorn: “It really meant a lot to me because when my mom was in high school, her school’s mixed choir was chosen to do what we’re doing. She was just as excited as me.”
What was going through your mind when you were recording the concert with the choir?
Senior Sabine Waldron: “I wondered how we would sound with masks and socially distanced as well as being on video recording. We had many rehearsals to perfect our repertoire so, being able to finally perform in front of an audience was so rewarding.”
Junior Carissa Nair: “There was this novelty, pride and intangible excitement in the air when recording for the concert, along with a twinge of disappointment that it wasn’t at a TMEA convention with a large, live audience. The nerves were present, of course -- I wanted to make sure I sang my part that we had been practicing for months as perfectly as I could.”
Sophomore Lauren Ziegenhorn: “Most of the anxiety came right before the actual performance. But during it, I kind of just went with it. I was just thinking, ‘You’re here, this is happening, let’s do the absolute best we can.’”
What do you think this honor will mean to you five years from now?
Senior Sabine Waldron: “I believe that this will open new paths for me as I begin to audition for college choirs, as well as further fuel my passion for singing and music. I will always be able to look back on this experience and be reassured that hard work and dedication pays off.”
Junior Carissa Nair: “It taught me an important lesson -- that anything is possible, even in unpredictable times and circumstances -- if one is determined. It is precisely what we believe to be impossible that we should endeavor to do -- as that is what allows us to reap the greatest rewards and truly be confident in our own abilities. This life lesson will surely accompany me for the rest of my life.”
Sophomore Lauren Ziegenhorn: “I think I will look back on this and remember how much fun I had with some of the best people I’ve known. I had friends my age and younger in this choir, but what was really inspiring was the example that was set by the seniors. They really helped guide everyone just by doing their part and, of course, singing beautifully.”
Nair summed up the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment the group had once their video concert had aired:
“Seeing the end product brought me the most satisfaction,” she said. “I would say the moments after we sang ‘We Are the Voices’ when I heard the raucous applause were the most precious. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we experienced a sense of relief and pride in our work. It was also wonderful to see the actual performance streamed from the TMEA database. Seeing the end product and the comments of viewers was incredible!”
Memorial High School Treble Choir members:
Gheila Ashley Berrios
Cristina De La Fuente
Gabriela Hernandez Velez
Giuliana Rea Herrera
Submitted by Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications