All about that bass; Madison senior chosen for Virginia Honors Choir

Emma Rooney, Editor-In-Chief

“My passion for music can be traced back to my early childhood, when my Dad would play classic rock in the car or in the house all the time,” Schwartz said. “He felt it important to give me a ‘musical education.””

— Ben Schwartz

The soft hum of students warming up their vocal chords resonates throughout the rehearsal room. Seniors from all over the state gather and prepare for their heavily anticipated performance. After going through rigorous auditions, the honor of getting to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association convention has been given to only the top chorale members in their schools, including one of Madison’s own.

Ben Schwartz (’17) attended the open audition at Longwood University one early morning in October. Scoring the second best score in the state, Schwartz is the only Madison student to be part of the Virginia Honors Choir.

“Performing challenging music with others is my passion,” Schwartz said. “Especially since I’m looking to be a vocal performance major, it’s great exposure and practice for me.”

Being part of the Virginia Honors Choir involves a lot of discipline and motivation. Due to the choir being comprised of students from all over the state, members must practice almost entirely on their own before meeting in Hot Springs, Va., for a few days of group rehearsal before their big performance.

“The Honors Choir began as an event to end the annual VMEA conference with,” President of the Virginia Choral Directors Association (VCDA) Mandi Steele said. “They felt there was a need for a featured honor choir to end the conference in a very high level performance, while combining students from all over the state.”

The program, which is comprised of only seniors, hopes to teach high school students about the dynamics and processes of being part of a professional choir. The members practice vigorously in anticipation for their performances at the Virginia Music Educators Association conventions, held from Nov. 17-19.

“It is always the hope that students learn to appreciate how wonderful and diverse Virginia is, that making great music with other people is so rewarding, and that their hard work really can pay off,” Steele said.

Schwartz may be new to the Virginia Honors Choir, but his passion and career in music has spanned a lifetime.

“I joined choir in fifth grade, and I’ve been involved ever since.” Schwartz said. “This really set me on the path to my musical career.”