Clockwise from lower left, Jessie Hall, Abbie Carney, Molly Paulsen and Emily Alico earned rave reviews after singing the national anthem at a recent Bucknell University men’s basketball game at Sojka Pavilion. The quartet attends Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School.

LEWISBURG — Two seventh graders and two eighth graders earned high praise at the last Lewisburg Area School District meeting and have collected more than a thousand “likes” on Facebook thanks to raising their voices.

Abbie Carney, Molly Paulsen, Jessie Hall and Emily Alico received raves after performing the national anthem at a recent Bucknell University men’s basketball home game.

All attend Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School, Lewisburg where classmates are also taking notice, as a YouTube video of their anthem has been viewed several hundred times.

The collaboration seemed like a natural fit.

“We all participate in chorus and I think we all know each of us is passionate about singing so we just thought we would come together,” Hall said.

Upcoming anthem performances include the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Kinney Natatorium and a possible return engagement at a Bucknell home basketball game as the Bison will host Patriot League tournament games as the league’s top seed. Bucknell men’s basketball Coach Dave Paulsen is Molly’s father.

Their names will also be submitted to be considered as anthem performers for the Little League World Series in South Williamsport.

All four acknowledged that The Star Spangled Banner is difficult to sing, but they worked it out as a team, and had practiced diligently since January.

“Two of us took the lower parts, that would be Molly and I,” Hall said. “Abbie and Emily took the soprano parts.”

Two of the girls had previously sung the anthem outdoors at the Lewisburg Relay for Life and the others has sung together separately.

Across the board, the girls cite Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and One Direction among their favorite performers.

Will they expand their repertoire to include other material, such as popular music or show tunes?

“If an opportunity presented itself, I don’t think we would hesitate to take it,” Carney said.

“We haven’t really thought too much about it,” she added and the other three agreed. “We’re taking it one step at a time.”

Jerilee Carney, Abbie’s mom, served as musical arranger and stressed that the anthem be treated with respect.

“Even though it is sung all the time, I really wanted them to be mindful about what they were singing about,” Jerilee said. “Especially now I think in our country, more than any time.”

Carney said they discussed the history of the song and its importance during their early practices, and she was heartened by the appreciation of it that the young performers brought.

On balance, the future looks good.

“Definitely the talent is there to sing,” Jeriliee said. “I don’t even know if they were really doing four-part harmony before they started doing this.”

Paulsen’s mom, Kathy, agreed and added that her daughter just seemed to know how to hit the right notes.

“It’s so hard,” she added.

Preparation for performing in Sojka Pavilion, with its different indoor acoustics, took a little extra time, and a visit to the big arena before the game for a rehearsal.

The girls are still looking for a name for their group and have been taking suggestions. “Sharmony,” was among them, which combines the words “she” and “harmony.”

Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at

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