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BR Student to Sing on Grand Ole Opry Stage

By: Cayli Allen/Editor-In-Chief

For most artists, singing on the Grand Ole Opry stage is one of the high points of their career. Blue Ridge High School senior, Allen Weed, will be singing with 670 of the nation’s best high school choir singers at the Opry in Nashville, TN on October 29, 2014, as part of National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) All National Mixed Choir Honor Ensemble. This is the first time a BR student has gotten accepted to National Mixed Choir.

According to a press release from NAfME, “The students chosen for this prestigious  honor will have a phenomenal experience in Nashville, Tennessee, this October. After working for several days with some of the most renowned conductors in the United States, the students will perform a concert on Wednesday, October 29, at the Grand Ole Opry House.”

In order to qualify for Nationals, the student must make it to state chorus before their senior year; Weed has made it to states during his sophomore and junior years. Singing experiences, how a student placed at states, and how many times a student has made it to state choir play a role in the selection for national choir. BR choir director, Ms. Amy Zakarauskas added, “Allen had to submit a paper application, his transcript, recommendation letters and a video audition of him performing music.”

Weed put in a lot of time and effort in order to make it to National Chorus. Zakarauskas explained, “Allen practices almost daily on repertoire to prepare him for his festivals. What really gave Allen the tools he needed was having a strong background in music. He has participated in band since 5th grade and takes private percussion lessons. He also got strong foundations in music at the elementary level and has been in chorus since 4th grade. He plays and sings in his church band on Sundays as well. With a lot of support from his parents, church and school, all of these experiences combined made him into the excellent musician he is.”

Weed explained how he practices: “I prepare in at three phases: first I just listen to my part, in which Ms. Z recorded from me, while following along in my music. Secondly, I sing along with the CD. Next, I sing without the CD. Lastly, though it is not required, I tend to start singing the songs from memory.”

“I am most looking forward to the pleasure of singing with unimaginably skilled choir,” exclaimed Weed.

Zakarauskas praised, “I am incredibly proud of Allen and we are all very proud that he will be representing Blue Ridge down in Nashville. What he has accomplished is difficult but not unattainable. We have so many talented students at Blue Ridge and with some hard work and perseverance they can most definitely reach this same level of achievement.”




Dorie Penny
Dorie Penny

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