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!
Alexander High School senior Lowell Chamberlain is John Mikulski Scholarship winner, presented by the Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association.
His primary instrument is guitar. He also plays tenor sax, trombone and bass guitar.
WHEN ASKED WHAT HIS GREATEST HS MUSICAL MEMORY IS, LOWELL RESPONDED:
"Being a part of the Alexander Jazz Experience was not only the most wholesome and fulfilling introduction to Jazz, but it also left me with a gratitude and sense of preparedness for performing in ensembles."
Lowell's goal is to work in the music industry as a composer/arranger, and songwriter. He currently enjoys spending time composing and producing using Abelton Live.
WHEN ASKED WHAT HIS FAVORITE PERFORMANCE AND VENUE WAS HE RESPONDED:
"The Riviera Theater in Buffalo in 2017 for the Music is Arts Festival with the Alexander Jazz Experience. We played a combination of jazz standards such as Cold Duck Time and St. Thomas as well as some Funk/Fusion jams such as Chameleon and Watermelon Man."
Lowell's main influences are: His teacher Dan Klinczar, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Stephen Sondheim.
Lowell will be attending SUNY Purchase in the fall where he will be studying Studio Composition! We wish him luck and are so proud of all of his accomplishments.