Last month, Olivia Siri '19 participated in the National Association for Music Education 2018 All-National Honor Ensemble choir at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Selected through a highly competitive audition process, Olivia joined the 'best of the best' in an ensemble performance directed by distinguished conductor Dr. Amanda Quist of Westminster Choir College, a prestigious music school.
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is the preeminent national music education advocacy organization. Students auditioned regionally, rehearsed intensely, and performed for a large audience! Olivia was one of 240 students hailing from 45 states in the All-National Honor Ensemble Mixed Choir. For perspective, 1% of students that entered the regional audition process in California were ultimately invited to participate. This was a great honor, and we are so proud of Olivia for representing Mercy High School Burlingame!
We had a few questions for Olivia about the incredible event and her deep love of singing.
How long have you been singing?
I have been singing for as long as I can remember, but I did not begin my formal training until around fifth grade in Peninsula Girls Chorus. I love singing because it allows me to express myself and is an exhilarating feeling I cannot find anywhere else.
What was it like singing at such a prestigious event?
It was an amazing experience. I met and became friends with talented high school singers from all over the country, most of whom were on a similar musical path - extremely passionate and dedicated to singing, and those wanting to study voice in college, etc. Our director, Dr. Amanda Quist of the world renowned Westminster Choir College, encouraged all of us to continue pursuing music wherever life takes us and to never stop singing. I loved every second of the experience and wish I could do it all over again. My experience singing at All-State and Nationals was not only uplifting and meaningful, but it gave me the confidence to continue pursuing my passion for singing. I felt truly honored to be part of this highly selective choir.
Did you have a favorite song from the repertoire?
I loved every song, but if I had to pick one, I would choose "Great God Almighty" arranged by Stacey Gibbs. It was the best (in my opinion) and the final piece in the program. The timing for the rhythm was difficult and some of the notes were extremely high for some sopranos (up to a high G #). Performing this song was very rewarding due to the challenges it posed.
What has singing taught you?
Singing has taught me patience, determination, and that everything takes practice and dedication. I have also learned good time management skills, which are very important because everything takes time and effort. Singing can be tricky because there are good days and bad days, and sometimes I get sick, which can be very frustrating. Through singing in choirs, I have learned to collaborate respectfully with others and through solo singing, I have learned about performance skills and above all, courage.