Congratulations to the four Chatham High School students who recently represented the CHS music department as members of the 2011 All-Eastern Chorus and Orchestra. The ensembles performed at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday, April 3rd.

Singers Scott Souza, Sean Switzer, David Wych, and violinist Julia Danitz were selected from student applicants from twelve Eastern states. They qualified to apply for the honor following the release of NJ All-State Chorus results last summer, which placed them in the top ten scores in New Jersey.  Sponsored by CHS Orchestra Director Krystle Graser and CHS Choral Director Barbara Klemp, the next step was to create a musical resume for each student for the selection committee to consideration each applicant’s musical background. Bass singer Sean Switzer was the 2010 recipient of the Governor’s Award for excellence in Vocal Music, an All-State/Regional singer, active participant in musical theater, and is immersed in musical activity in his church, in addition to singing in the CHS Select Choir and his own band, Castle Park.  Switzer has been a Select Choir soloist in choral festivals, Lincoln Center and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral concerts.  Tenor singers Scott Souza and David Wych are also All-State/Regional singers who participate in musical theater and the CHS Select Choir. Souza participates in the CHS Wind Ensemble on trumpet, and Wych, who is also a pianist, in the CHS Marching Band on mallet percussion and as a frequent Select Choir soloist.  Violinist Julia Danitz is also an All-State/Regional musician with extensive playing experience. The day before leaving for Baltimore, Danitz learned of her acceptance to the Juilliard School of Music.

Upon learning of their acceptance last December, students anxiously awaited the arrival of their concert music, which they were required to prepare on their own prior to the first Baltimore rehearsal. For the singers, their trip to Baltimore followed a performance at Lincoln Center (NYC) the previous evening. Upon their afternoon arrival in Baltimore on March 31, the chorus and orchestra began rehearsals that evening and continued through the morning of the concert, resulting in nearly thirty hours of rehearsal time over a four-day period.  Although exhausted, the students couldn’t help but feel exhilarated by the experience of being selected as “the best of the best.” Choral Director Barbara Klemp noted “This is the highest honor a New Jersey high school musician can attain, and it’s extremely rare to see four students from the same school accepted into these ensembles – that’s how incredibly selective they are. But we have some exceptional talent.”

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