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Women’s choir and soloists get high marks at OMEA contest

February 7, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Poland Seminary High School junior-senior women's ensemble and six soloists received a I or Superior rating at solo and ensemble contest held Jan. 26 at Western Reserve High School. Poland choir director Dr. Charles Szabo said he was pleased the Poland singer's accomplishments.

"We participate every year, last year we did a little better than this year but we had three weeks less to prepare this year, some sick students, conflict with sports, and bad weather," Szabo said. "So considering all that, I thought we did pretty well, although not our best."

Members of the choir that participated at the event included Ashlyn Carzoo, Brianna Carzoo, Sarah Gleydura, Hannah Aponte, Stephanie Hammons, Lanina Smith, Lauren Stebelton and Destiny Rischpater. Competing as soloists were, in class A: Sarah Gleydura and Lauren Stebelton; in class B: Victoria Remley; and in class C: Cassandra Herdman and Ashlyn Carzoo.

Article Photos

 Photos special to the Town Crier
The Poland Seminary High School Junior-Senior Women's Ensemble and six soloists received Superior ratings at the Ohio Music Education Association Solo and Ensemble contest held Jan. 26 at Western Reserve High School. Members of the choir included: Ashlyn Carzoo, Brianna Carzoo, Sarah Gleydura, Hannah Aponte, Stephanie Hammons,  Lanina Smith and Lauren Stebelton.  Missing from photo is Destiny Rischpater. 

The classes at the OMEA contest range in degree of difficulty. Szabo said class A was the hardest music and the harshest judging for the students. He said normally Poland High School sends students in class C first.

"If they do well, they can move up to class B the next year and then to class A," Szabo said. "However, there is nothing that prevents a ninth-grader from going class A their first time out, although we usually discourage that."

Students are rated on their performance and not pitted against each other. Szabo said theoretically everyone can get an I, or Superior, rating, however probably half of the students receive lower than a I rating- usually a II or III unless it was a really poor performance.

"We had a number of students receive II ratings, which is good," Szabo said, "however the students usually prefer not to have their rating pubicized unless they receive a I."

He said all band and choir members are eligible to compete at the OMEA event, but it is strickly on a volunteer basis, or "self-select."

The contests run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the music teachers from the area schools. For students, they only have to show up a half hour prior to their event, then only have about an hour wait for their rating. Szabo did say some students compete in multiple events and he has had a few actually take part in six events during the day, which requires longer hours.

The Jan. 26 contest was a District 5 competition that includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties. Almost all schools participate which usually brings in around 2,000 music students. Because of the large number, District 5 is split into a north and south site. Poland participated in the south site held at Western Reserve High School.

Most of the choir students who compete don't take private lessons, although most of the band students do.

"It's recommended but a lot of students can't afford it," Szabo said. "We had about 15 girls competing as soloists. Only two were taking private lessons at the time and those two got I's on their solo. The others just learn their song in choir class as a group without individual attention."

Victoria Remley is a private student of Georgeanne Colella. Sarah Comstock is another who studies voice with Stephanie Chizmar.

At the end of the OMEA contest, Szabo said he was satisfied with the students' accomplishments.

"I thought the girls did great," he said. "I was very proud of them. I wish we had more boys that would be willing to participate or didn't have conflicts with other school activities."



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