A song in her heart
W-F student participates in state honors concert
By Angie Landsverk
Kiley Stevenson loves music and is taking advantage of opportunities to help her grow as a vocalist.
“I’ve always loved music and singing,” said the Weyauwega-Fremont High School sophomore.
LuAnn Rupnow, the district’s middle and high school choral teacher, told her about the Wisconsin School Music Association’s State Honors Music Project.
That was when Stevenson was in seventh grade.
Stevenson auditioned for the middle school state honors choir and was selected to be a part of it.
The following fall, when she was in eighth grade, Stevenson spent a day rehearsing with her fellow choir members. The choir then performed the next day.
“It just gave me more experience in music,” Stevenson said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
She wanted to be part of such an experience again.
This past school year, Stevenson auditioned for the high school state honors project and was chosen to be in the association’s 2016 High School State Honors Music Project.
More than 1,600 students applied to audition for one of its five high school ensembles, and 429 students were selected.
Stevenson auditioned at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point last March and was among the approximately 100 students selected to be in the mixed choir.
The alto sang her Solo and Ensemble piece, “The Call” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, when she auditioned.
Last June, she attended a four-day camp at UW-Green Bay.
“We rehearsed from 8 a.m. til 10:30 p.m.,” Stevenson said. “After the fourth day, we had a work-in-progress concert.”
The students in the mixed choir had to learn nine songs.
“And most were not in English,” Stevenson said.
On Oct. 27, they spent the day rehearsing before performing that evening, at the Madison Overture Center.
“When we came back together, it was kind of like we never left,” she said.
Scott MacPherson was the conductor.
MacPherson is a professor of music and director of choral studies at Kent State University.
“He has so much passion for what he does,” Stevenson said.
The mixed choir program included “Wie der Hirsch Schreit” by Felix Mendelssohn, which the choir sang in German.
Stevenson’s favorite song was “Loch Lomond,” a Scottish folk song.
“The end was a round of different parts. It sounded really cool,” she said.
The program also included “Nyon Nyon,” a song Stevenson described as sounding like a vocal orchestra.
Stevenson wants to have a career in music and said it is good to have these types of experiences.
She has been in choir since sixth grade and in addition to singing, also plays piano and guitar.
“We’ve always had a piano. When I was little, I always wanted to play,” Stevenson said. “I taught myself piano and guitar.’
She watched YouTube videos and listened to recordings of piano, pausing after small parts and then figuring it out for herself.
This past summer, Stevenson started taking voice lessons with Carol Jegen, at the Lawrence Academy of Music, and guitar lessons with Katie DeNure, at Heid Music, in Appleton.
Music is something Stevenson enjoys.
“If I were to have a career in music, it wouldn’t feel like a job,” she said. “If I could do anything, I’d like to do music theater.”
Her parents, Mark and Kim Stevenson, said music is her passion.
Stevenson plans to audition for W-F High School’s spring musical and will continue auditioning for the State Honors Music Project.
“It felt so natural to be there,” she said.
Wisconsin Public Radio will broadcast highlights of the high school state honors concerts between 10 a.m. and noon on Thanksgiving.
The full concerts will air at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27.