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The student news site of Methacton High School

The Windy Hill

The student news site of Methacton High School

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Five Methacton Choir Students Advance Through PMEA Choral Festivals

Five Methacton Choir Students Advance Through PMEA Choral Festivals

Five of Methacton’s choir members recently were accepted into the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 11 Choir. They represented Methacton at the highly selective, auditioned choir and festival held from January 24th to 26th, 2024 at Bensalem High School.

Sophomore Rasika Sivakumar was “quite surprised to find out that [she] was ranked fifth” of the 67 Soprano 1’s who had auditioned for Districts, especially since this was her first year participating in PMEA chorally. She had gotten through the audition with a dose of determination and the help of her skill in Indian classical singing which she has been learning since the tender age of three and is performing concerts worldwide. Also inspiring her singing are the legacies of PMEA alumni such as Mimi Cavallo and Paige Alaishuski, as well as Mrs. Francisco, the Methacton choir teacher. Of course, she expresses how her parents have been supportive of her journey in both styles of music since her mother teaches Indian Classical vocal music and her father teaches Indian drum playing. Outside of choir, Sivakumar enjoys doing a variety of activities. Some are musical, like Carnatic singing and playing the Western and Indian violins; others are sporty, such as playing tennis and biking. Sivakumar also likes reading and creative writing, and she strives for a career in the medical field.

Senior and Bass 1 Lucas (Luke) Horoho participated in PMEA last year, and his father is the choir director at Upper Merion High School, so he felt confident going into the audition this year. He also works with Mrs. Francisco and takes vocal lessons outside of school. All of these teachers have “had a unique touch to add to my voice,” Horoho mused. The influence of all of his coaches and the experience of having done PMEA last year helped Horoho to get through the audition this year. When he is not in choir, Horoho participates in a variety of other musical activities.

Junior Amanda (Mandi) Chesney, who sings the Alto 1 voice part, noted the amount of stress involved with PMEA this year, as two required dates coincided with midterms. “Disregarding that, I’m elated” to get into Districts, Chesney commented, having worked furiously to learn six pieces of music in a month and a half. She made it through the audition with the support of friends who also auditioned. She said that her biggest inspiration for her singing is her mother, who was a vocal major. Chesney was surrounded by singing and musical theater when she was little: she remembers her mother “bringing [her] to the library [to see]… one woman who had a guitar and sang to all the little children for an hour”. She continues to participate in musical theater for fun, as well as playing video games, drawing, and writing.

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Although junior Dylan Wen auditioned as a Bass 1, his first love in music was piano, as he has been taking piano lessons for 11 years. He auditioned for and got into Districts for both. He also participated in PMEA last year and made all-states for piano. Wen’s biggest supporters throughout his musical journey have been his parents, as well as his own “passion for piano and music… that inspires [him] to keep on doing it.” When not participating in music, Wen enjoys playing sports such as soccer and tennis, learning new things, and relaxing on YouTube.

A love of music runs deep in junior Varsha Iyengar, Alto 1, who has been taking vocal lessons since she was four years old. She loves singing with her mom, who also took lessons when she was young. Iyengar was very nervous before the audition, but what pulled her through was “the belief that no matter the result, [she] had still accomplished a lot having given the audition [her] all.” When not in chorus, Iyengar participates in neuroscience and patient care-related activities, because she is interested in going into medicine as a career. She also loves to travel and be with her friends.

As aforementioned, Methacton’s midterm exam week clashed with the District festival dates, but through dedication and consistent practice, all five of these musicians advanced to the Regional festival through another audition process while successfully making up all of their missed midterm exams. The festival will be held from March 7th-9th at Strayer Middle School where students from both District 11 and 12 Choir will compete for the top six places in each voice part to move on to states.

Methacton’s PMEA District musicians pose for a group picture after the District festival on January 26th at Bensalem High School. (left to right) Dylan Wen, Lucas Horoho, Rasika Sivakumar, Varsha Iyengar, and Amanda Chesney

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