Embrace time spent in high school music

Published 10:12 am Thursday, January 16, 2014

Column: A Happy Medium, by Erin Murtaugh

This weekend, I attended the Dorian Choral festival at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. There, I was a member of the festival choir, which had nearly 1,200 student members. We were all there for the same reason. We love to sing.

Saturday, a select chamber choir of about 100 students met and began their rehearsal. Sunday, the rest of us joined them. We had large rehearsals and rehearsals that were broken down into just men and just women. There was a concert that day where two of Luther’s choirs performed and a chamber choir from a high school in Iowa did, too. We also had a dance in the evening that was just for Dorian students.

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The festival choir sang three songs, the chamber choir had three songs and the men and women each had their own song. Students were also able to perform a solo for voice faculty from Luther and have a lesson with them. I participated in that.

It’s interesting to hear what other people have to say about your voice, rather than what my choir teacher tells me. Everyone notices something different about vocal techniques, but there are always things that all vocal coaches seem to notice as well.

Monday, we had a few more rehearsals and then our big concert came. We performed with our pieces and the Nordic choir, Luther’s large mixed choir also performed. Five soloists from about 275 students that sang solos from voice faculty were selected to perform their solos for the concert, too. It’s amazing to see how great of singers there are in high school.

During the women’s piece, “Two Strings but One Voice,” I started to get pretty emotional. The feelings of performing with such a large group of people who are also passionate about choir is an insane feeling. Then I got to thinking about how my career as a high school choir member is almost over.

Students, if you are in music in high school, embrace the time you have. Parents, if your child is in music, support and encourage them. I think that even after high school, I will try to find a community choir or something similar to join. Music makes an impact on so many lives. It shouldn’t just end after high school.


Albert Lea resident Erin Murtaugh is a senior at Albert Lea High School.