Williamsport hosts pre-auditions for PMEA

Every year, choir students from nine different counties gather at Williamsport Area High School for the pre-auditions to be able to compete in District Chorus hosted by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). The nine schools attending represent one of the 12 districts in the state competing to ultimately reach the state competition in the spring.

Students bring not only their musical abilities, but their love of meeting new people and creating new experiences.

Hailey Robbins, a senior at Williamsport, has been involved in PMEA the last three years and will be participating for the fourth time this month.

“The thing I enjoy most about PMEA and the schools coming together is the community. Even though we are there competing against each other, we still laugh, sing silly songs together, help each other with rhythms, tell jokes and make memories that will last a lifetime,” she said.

Robbins, along with her peers at Williamsport Area High School, prepared a piece of music for the pre-auditions. “Everyone prepares the same piece for auditions,” senior Anna Vaughn Stewart said. “Then on the day of auditions, you go into a room and the judges tell you what segment to sing. You sing a cappella and you are judged in seven different categories including things like tone, pitch, diction, rhythm and musicality.”

Students who are selected will get new music to begin preparing for the first round of auditions for the state competition.

“Each round you get more music and have less time to prepare,” Stewart said. “Talent is certainly a factor, but many people make it each year because of their dedication. It takes a lot of time to prepare your pieces in order to be competitive.”

One of the highlights for Stewart is the culminating concert at the end of each round of competition. “You get to perform with such an amazing ensemble,” she said.