Two Heights High singers perform with OMEA All-State Choir

Heights High's Johnna Marotta (left) and Arianna Murray performed with the OMEA All-State Choir on Feb. 6. [photo by Tamara Murray]

Heights High students Arianna Murray and Johnna Marotta represented the CH-UH City School District at the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA) on Feb. 6. Murray and Marotta performed at the Cleveland Convention Center with the OMEA All-State Choir. More than 1,000 students from across Ohio auditioned for the choir, but only 81 students were selected for this honor.

Murray and Marotta had competed in the OMEA Solo and Ensemble Competition on Jan. 24, and both students received the highest possible score of Superior in the soloist competition. Two other students, Michael Carder and Ian Teunissen, were also selected for the choir, but could not attend the performance because of other vocal music obligations.

“I am so very proud of all four of the musicians,” said Craig McGaughey, Heights High vocal music director. “Performing with a group of this caliber is a great experience for students. Arianna and Johnna came back to school full of energy and enthusiasm for performing.”

Murray is a junior in the school's Mosaic division and an Honor Roll student. She has received a score of Superior in the past two years' OMEA Solo and Ensemble competitions. Marotta, who is a senior in Mosaic and on the Merit Roll, has also received Superior scores for the past two years' OMEA Solo and Ensemble ompetitions.

The choir performed seven pieces, including William Byrd's Ave Verum Corpus, Sir Edward Elgar's The Dance, and A.R. Rahman's Balleilakka, arranged by Ethan Sperry, director of choral activities at Portland State University, who conducted the concert.

Both students consider their performance with the All-State Choir an honor. "Being a member of All-State Choir, and working with so many gifted vocalists was wonderful because not only is everyone so talented, they're very committed to singing," Murray said. "Although the music was challenging, it barely felt like we were working at all.”

“I think that being a member of All-State is such a privilege," Marotta remarked, "because I get to make beautiful music with such passionate teenagers like me. I get to sing with the best high school performers in Ohio who are the most humble performers I have ever met.”

Cathan Bricker

Cathan Bricker is the communications administrative assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:32 AM, 02.27.2015