A Soldotna High student will join “the best of the best” in a national choir event this week.
Rowan Vasquez, a senior at Soldotna High School, was chosen among students from across the country to sing in the ensemble choir at the National Association for Music Education 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles.
“I feel super blessed,” Vasquez said. “I didn’t think I was going to get into it. I prayed a lot.”
Vasquez left Wednesday — along with 556 students from 48 other states — for Orlando, Florida, where the national event takes place Nov. 7-10.
Vasquez’s music career began her freshman year at Soldotna High, where she joined the school’s band. Since then, she has been a member of the school’s choir, honor choir and swing choir. She’s also performed in the leading roles of her school’s annual musicals.
Vasquez said she’s grateful for music programs offered in the state and locally at Soldotna High School.
“I think it was cool because if Alaska didn’t have the programs like all-state or honor choir, I don’t think I would have wanted to audition for all-nationals,” Vasquez said. “These cool programs that Alaska has to offer for musical students has pushed me to reach for the national level and try other things.”
Vasquez hopes other students feel like they can reach for the stars.
“I think it’s a cool opportunity to show that just because you live in Alaska, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t audition for something that’s national or something that’s in a different country or part of the U.S.,” Vasquez said.
Students who make the choir at the all-state level are invited to audition for the all-national ensemble. Vasquez performed in all-state last year and auditioned for the national ensemble at the end of the school year this spring. Earlier this summer, Vasquez heard the news that she made the national ensemble.
She received her music at the end of the summer, and has been spending the last several months memorizing and practicing the songs she’ll be performing with other students who made it to nationals. All of the students will join together and sing in one giant group comprised of the country’s “best of the best,” an October press release from the National Association for Music Education said.
Vasquez said she wants to thank her music teacher, Kent Peterson, for encouraging students to audition for new opportunities. “He’s super awesome,” Vasquez said. “He’s a great music teacher. He’s pushed everyone to audition for stuff and is super supportive.”
Peterson said he’s proud of Vasquez for putting in the work to audition for all-nationals.
“It’s a ton of work for Rowan,” Peterson said. “She’s gone this weekend and is in a high school musical next weekend. It’s a lot of stuff to do, but it’s a testament to her hard work.”