Madison Hoerbelt is a 2018 graduate of Batavia High School and a winner of a John Mikalski Scholarship from the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association. Hoerbelt is attending Ithaca College for Voice Performance and is a mezzo-soprano.
What is her favorite musical experience?
When I was in high school I was very lucky to attend Conference All-State as well as All-Eastern in Atlantic City, New Jersey! During my freshman year of college, I went on tour with the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers to Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. This past year as a sophomore I went to sing the National Anthem with the Ithaca College Choir at MetLife Stadium right outside of New York City!
What is your musical goal?
My goal is to be an opera and musical theater actress in opera houses and companies around the world. Mainly in New York City, Germany, and Italy. My goal also includes going to graduate school to get my master's degree in Voice Performance and eventually a doctorate.
What is your favorite performance venue?
My favorite venue I've ever performed in would be the Kodak Theater in the Eastman School of Music. I performed there for two concerts during my time in Conference All-State and three more times with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in their Holiday Pops Concerts throughout high school! Some of her main performance influences are Renee Fleming, Isabel Leonard, and Anita Rachvelishvili.
Other exciting musical fun facts:
I would have been attending Songfest, a prestigious art song program, in May and June but unfortunately, it was canceled. I'm a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, which is a coed professional music fraternity, for which I have just been elected the vice president/pledge mom. I also play many instruments including clarinet, saxophone, flute, guitar, ukulele, and piano.
Amidst the societal and scholastic change that our country has had to adapt to during the current Pandemic of 2020, the Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association (GWMEA) had to cancel their annual All-County Festivals that highlight the top 500 musicians from out combined counties.
The 12 schools that makeup GWMEA consist of Alexander, Attica, Batavia City, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Notre Dame, Pembroke, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph, and Wyoming schools.
Students between the grades 5-12 would have been highlighted this year in March during performances at Pembroke and Le Roy High Schools.
In honor of all students who auditioned for the six ensembles who will never get to perform as a group, the GWMEA would like to thank all students who individually put in the time preparing for these great music festivals.
Lastly, we would like to honor all the seniors who will never have the honor of performing again at another GWMEA Festival. Some of our seniors would have been making their first appearance in an all-county ensemble, and some would have been appearing for their ninth year, committing hours and hours to their craft. Regardless of years committed, we would like to honor you one last time. Congratulations.
Le Roy graduate Kathleen Dessert received a John Mikalski Scholarship from the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association in 2018. She is currently studying Music Education at SUNY Fredonia. She is a vocal major, a soprano who also plays piano, flute, guitar and ukulele.
While at Le Roy, her favorite music experience was performing as Ariel in "The Little Mermaid." So far while at Fredonia her favorite musical experience was performing Verdi's "Requiem" under the direction of David Rudge, Ph.D.
Dessert is looking forward to singing with the Fredonia Choirs at a celebration for Stacey Gibbs' 100th composition in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2021.
Her favorite performance venue is when she performed with the 2017 NYSSMA Conference All State Treble Choir in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. One of her favorite pieces they performed that night was Holst's "Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda."
Her main role models have always been her teachers. The most influential being Patricia Corron, Ph.D, and Jacqueline McLean.
She would love to teach elementary general music while also keeping herself involved in choirs and musical theater.
She recently put together a Virtual Ensemble for the Fredonia chapter of the National Association for Music Education! It was a lot of fun, and she is hoping to do more in the future that will involve chapters from all around the state.
Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association honors its 1016 John Mikalski scholarship winner, Ross Chua, a graduate of Batavia High School.
Chua has earned a bachelor's degree in Music Composition from Syracuse University and is working on his master's degree in Audio Sound.
His primary instrument is voice. Secondary instruments are trumpet, piano and guitar.
When asked for his favorite high school/college music memory he responded: I have come to know such a vast array of humans throughout my time both in Batavia and Syracuse, and I am blessed to have spent time with so many wonderful friends and colleagues. One of my favorite musical experiences was my first tour with SU's university singers. Setnor School of Music has a wonderful choral program full of amazing and dedicated vocalists, and singers have always been a particularly enriching experience for me. In the fall of my sophomore year, the first semester I joined, we went to perform for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was incredibly exciting to tour the city and take in the rich musical culture of the area, and this was made even better by being able to share the experience with some of my closest friends. Perhaps the most impactful part of the trip, though, was our final performance at the conference. We had prepared some intense repertoire, including Francis Poulenc's "Sept Chansons," ("Seven Songs") which was especially difficult. As mentioned, though, the work ethic of the choir was palpable, and the culmination of our work performing for the NCCO is something that still fills me with immense pride. It was a powerful reminder of how satisfying singing can be, especially when: a. You challenge yourself and work to meet that challenge; and b.You collaborate with people you respect and admire.
When asked what ensembles/ performance opportunities do you aspire to be a part of: I've participated in several choirs while in college and was music director of my tenor/bass a cappella group, orange appeal. I'd like to continue being involved with vocal groups because there's something magical about creating music using nothing but what God gave you.
Where is your favorite performance venue you have performed at?: Last fall, I brought my a cappella group orange appeal to Batavia to sing at Richmond Memorial Library. It was really fun to have my college life and my home life cross paths.
Who are your main musical influences and/or role models? Andrew Huang is a producer/YouTuber who has an insanely massive body of work, both in variety and sheer quantity of releases. He also has been a part of many collaborations, small scale and large scale, with other musicians and YouTubers. I aspire to have his commitment on his mission statement, which is simply "make music everywhere."
What is your ultimate music goal or music dream? My favorite aspect of music is the way it naturally vitalizes a community experience. I am constantly seeking opportunities to connect with people, and often those overlap with musical opportunities. I'd like to continue collaborating with other musicians as much as possible, and the career paths I think are most conducive to that are working at a recording studio and managing a performance venue. Both career paths seem like promising sources of social interaction!
Do you have any music side projects that you enjoy? I try to create regular content for my Instagram (@ross_chua) and my YouTube channel (Ross Chua music). Be sure to follow if you're interested in seeing my content!
The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association is honoring past scholarship winner Elise Hoerbelt, a trumpet player and a 2019 graduate of Batavia High School.
Here instructors through the years have included Dawn Mark, Jane Haggett, and Derek Reiss.
Her secondary instruments are voice, french horn, and violin.
She is attending Ithaca College and majoring in Music Education.
What are your favorite college/ high school music experiences?
My favorite music experience in my career so far has been my first concert at Ithaca College. It was amazing getting to play with so many talented musicians and it was the first concert of my college career.
What ensembles/performance opportunities do you aspire to be a part of?
Since I aspire to be a music educator, I would like to be the conductor of a band of students someday.
What is your favorite performance venue you have performed at?
My favorite performance venue was at Kodak Hall in the Eastman School of Music when I performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the Holiday Pops Chorus.
What are your main musical influences and/or role models?
My teachers and friends have been my main influences in my musical career.
What is your ultimate music goal or music dream?
My goal is to become a music educator and teach students about the power of music.
The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association celebrates previous scholarship winner Andrea Gilebarto, a former Batavia High School who will graduate this spring with a degree in music education from SUNY Fredonia.
Primary Instrument: Voice -- studying with Robert Strauss at SUNY Fredonia Secondary Instruments: Ukulele, Piano, and Flute
When asked what her favorite High School and College memories are Andrea Responded: My favorite high school experience is playing Mary Poppins in "Mary Poppins the musical." My favorite college musical experience was when I was in Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Vernon Huff. I think a close second was playing one of the stepsisters in the Hillman Opera's production of "Cendrillon" by Massenet, the French opera of the "Cinderella" story.
When asked where is your favorite performance venue you have performed at Andrea responded:
My favorite venue was when the Chamber Choir went to Churchville Chili High School to be a part of a promotional tour. We performed four songs that evening, and closed out the concert. The auditorium was huge and had plenty of space for our sound to resonate in. My favorite song we performed that night was "All My Trials" and "Rockin' Jerusalem," both arranged by Stacey Gibbs.
In addition to teaching, Andrea aspires to be a part of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Chorus one day. She also aspires to be in more operas down the line.
When asked who her main influences are Andrea responded: My main musical influences are Joyce Didonato, Billy Joel and Luciano Pavarotti. I have tickets to see Billy Joel in concert, and cannot wait to see him live!
Andreas ultimate music goal is to be able to teach middle school general music and choral music while still having time to participate in an opera or a musical theater performance.
Andrea loves playing ukulele! She finds chords to pop songs she loves, and plays along to recordings.
We would like to congratulate Andrea on all of her accomplishments up to this point! We wish you much luck as you start your career as a music educator!
Lydia Geiger is the second winner of a 2020 John Mikulski Scholarship announced by the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association.
Geiger is a senior at Batavia High School. Her primary interest is flute.
When asked what her greatest HS memory was Lydia responded:
College visits and auditions, masterclasses, lessons, and playing in orchestras.
Lydia's goal is to become a music educator and performer.
When asked what her favorite performance venue she had performed at she responded:
The Musical Arts Center at The Jacobs School of Music in 2018 with the Indiana University Summer Music Clinic Orchestra. We performed Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5.
Lydia's main influences are her music teachers.
Lydia is undecided as to where she will be attending school for Music however she has these amazing colleges to choose from:
Schulich School of Music at McGill University, Ithaca College, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, or SUNY Potsdam.
Lydia is very excited to be performing at the Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, Austria with the Honors Performance Series in 2021.
"This is Me," performed by participants in the Sound Foundation and the Harvester 56 Theater in Batavia.
Sound Foundations Voice Studio is a private studio run by Wendy Williams. She trains both classical and music-theater style singers, including children and adult beginners. Five of her high school students placed this year in an international young classical artists competition and sang at Carnegie Hall.
Williams is currently conducting lessons remotely and she decided to use the remote learning tools to bring the class together in a fun and uplifting project.
The song is from the musical "The Greatest Showman."