MIFFLINBURG — Chris Rapson and Brandon Linn, Mifflinburg Area High School seniors, were recently named among the top high school musicians in the country.
The chorus members, both tenors, earned places on the all national choir of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). They will join other vocalists, jazz band, modern band and symphonic ensemble members. Each are in the top tier of their respective performance arts.
Rapson and Linn auditioned to get to Orlando with a required piece, a Scottish tune, and some material of their choosing. Both chose an Italian love songs as their elective auditions. They said by this weekend, their showcase would be in full swing at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
Choir members were well-rehearsed in advance.
“We have to know the music before we go down there,” Rapson said. “Obviously, once we get there, we rehearse with the whole choir.”
The ensemble should also be ready for changes as the choir’s conductor may want to make adjustments.
“One of the big things you have to have is a pencil,” Rapson said. “So you can make marks in your music and change stuff.”
They will be performing seven pieces ranging from a religious composition, a traditional South African piece to a requiem and others.
Patricia Wagner, Mifflinburg director of vocal activities, said getting to the national level involved a series of competitive steps. Her young musicians audition and go from district to regionals to state chorus.
“At states they compete again,” she said. “If they are a certain age, they can apply for Eastern Division, which is the entire east coast and the American schools in Europe.”
Wagner said the opportunity to make it to the Eastern Division comes once every two years.
“These two guys went to states when they were in 10th grade, which is very rare,” she recalled of Rapson and Linn. “They were the first two that I’ve had in all of my years that made all-state as 10th graders.”
An application for the NAfME choir followed.
“Because of how high they placed over the course of their 10th and 11th grade years and their audition, that helps the national committee make their decision,” Wagner said. “It is a very, very little fish in an enormous ocean to make nationals.”
Wagner noted that there were 240 students in the national choir, with about 20 from Pennsylvania.