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For hundreds of students across the state, the supreme pinnacle of musical success is, without a doubt, the opportunity to participate among the most elite singers in the PMEA All-State chorus. Prior to obtaining this distinguished honor, however, singers must conquer the daunting, penultimate challenge of state auditions in the regional chorus. For Hamburg Area High School students Kyle Schumaker, Cody Knight, Kayleigh Hungerford, and Justin Mengel, the privilege to sing for the state chorus is but one final step away from them.
The work involved in preparing for these honorable choruses extends far beyond the auditions themselves. Hamburg chorus students received their audition piece in June of 2012, which marked only the beginning of the countless hours of hard work that were yet to come. As the preliminary October auditions for the district and county choruses approached, those students who were adequately prepared sang their piece to qualify for the District 10 and Berks County choruses. Students accepted into the county chorus included Justin Mengel, Kyle Schumaker, Tyler Brown, Bruce Wagner, Nicholas Bowser, Kayleigh Hungerford, Leigh Kissinger, Elizabeth Leiby, and Cody Knight. HAHS students qualifying for the District 10 chorus included four students – Kyle Schumaker, Cody Knight, Kayleigh Hungerford, and Justin Mengel.
The success of the singers did not end at the District Chorus which is, in its entirety, an accomplishment on its own. The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 10 Chorus, acting also as the Region V auditions, would yield results similar to those seen in the auditions for the District Chorus, thus shattering common expectations. All four Hamburg students who took part in the District 10 Chorus will also be representing HAHS in the PMEA Region V Chorus taking place March 21-23.
Cody Knight, Hamburg sophomore, pianist, and passionate audiophile, is quite pleased so far both with himself and his fellow classmates. Although he still has two more years ahead of him, he is grateful that he has been able to make the most out of this opportunity so far.
“The whole process required a lot of work, but I am happy for the other students who made it to the Regional Chorus as well as myself,” said Knight states.“This experience will provide me with something to build upon in the years to come.”
The remaining three students, seniors Kayleigh Hungerford, Kyle Schumaker, and Justin Mengel, all shared fairly similar opinions towards their success thus far. For them, it is greatly meaningful to share these achievements during their final high school year. It is events such as these that create memories that can be reflected upon for the rest of their lives.
Surely, each of these students who have made it to this point can attribute these accomplishments to the many months of hard work and dedication. Despite this, one cannot simply forget to give ample praise to the teacher and mentor of the singers, music teacher Scott Piergrossi.
“For all four of these students to make it into County, District, and Regional chorusis quite the rarity as well as a tremendous honor,” said Piergrossi.“It is not easy to get into these choruses, but they all work hard on their own time. I am very proud of my students.”
Now, with the Region V Chorus approaching, Piergrossi, along with others, are looking for the remaining students to continue working hard to prepare their music. In the case that one, if not all, of these students were to advance to the PMEA All-State Chorus, they will travel to Erie, Pa., to partake in one of the most honorable musical opportunities available to them.