Eight TAHS Students Qualify for District Level Choral Festival


Alivia Anderson

Pictured is the eight TAHS students who qualified for the district level choral festival. (Back row, left to right) Evan Chichester, John Isenberg, Weston O’Shell, and Austin White. (Front row, left to right) Nathaniel Patterson, Lydia Seltzer, Rose McKernan, and Rebekah Sprankle.

For any District VI sports team, competition comes in the form of games or matches. Players match up with teams from other schools to show off what they’ve got in their respective fields in the most adrenaline-filled, winner-takes-all fashion.

For those involved in this district’s choral department, however, this same competitive drive emerges with the start of what is known as festival season, where the vocal skillsets of students are put to the test against their peers from local schools.

On Sunday, October 16, 2022, ten Tyrone Area High School students traveled to Everett Area High School to compete in the first round of auditions for the PMEA Choral Festival season.

Out of the ten TAHS participants that took part in this event, eight qualified for the District level choral festival. The list of these students and their voice parts are as follows:

Rose McKernan- Soprano II
Rebekah Sprankle- Soprano II
Lydia Seltzer- Alto II
Evan Chichester- Tenor I
Weston O’Shell- Tenor II
Austin White- Tenor II
John Isenberg- Bass I
Nathaniel Patterson- Bass I

This process involved the extensive preparation of an assigned song given by PMEA before the competition. Upon arrival at their voice part’s designated audition room on the day of the event, these students were given their assigned section of the song for which they would audition.

Vocalists then performed individually to a panel of unseen judges who critique them on different areas of voice quality.

The singers are scored between a range of 0-15 points which determined their seating and whether or not they would be moving on to the next level of auditions.

Tyrone has a notable past of outputting strong vocalists, and this year’s scoring results prove to be no exception to this reputation.

There is undoubtedly a strong sense of accomplishment radiating from the choral department upon the news of these qualifying performances.

Choral director Mrs. Laura Harris expressed her pride for not only the eight students moving forward but for all ten of her participating auditioners.

“I am so proud of all ten students who auditioned for the festival. The time and effort that they put into preparing for these auditions were exceptional. I was also pleased with how they represented our school at the auditions. They were very polite and friendly to all of the choral directors and students from the other schools,” said Harris.

Senior Nathaniel Patterson, who was one of Tyrone’s four qualifiers at this same choral level last year, recalls this event in comparison to his previous experience with the Pre-Auditions process. He cites how different everything was due to then-standing COVID-19 restrictions.

“Being in-person was a lot more nerve-wracking than being able to just submit a recording, but the in-person experience was more fun because I was actually able to meet new people,” said Patterson.

Now that these students have claimed their rightful places in the Top 22 vocalists of their sections, they will continue through to audition for the Regional-level choir, which takes only the Top 12 singers of each voice part from the District festival. From there, vocalists have the opportunity to audition at the State-wide level, an achievement that only few can cite as their own due to only the Top 4 performers being selected.

“Honestly, I’m really excited to be moving on to Districts. I’m going to do my absolute best this year to qualify for Regionals,” says junior John Isenberg, who was also one of the four qualifying Tyrone students last year. “I’m still angered by the fact that I missed by only one chair last year, so I’m sort of taking this year as a revenge tour. I’m going to put in the work, as much as possible, to make sure I do better and show everyone what I can do.”

This elite group of eight students will soon begin their work on the material for the District Chorus festival, which will take place on January 11-13, 2023 at Portage Area High School. This festival will conclude with a concert on the 13th at 7 pm, and tickets will be sold at the door.