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Seneca Valley juniors perform with All-National Honor Choir

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 3:48 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Seneca Valley High School junior Lance Hahn, 17, senior Hayley Hoss, 16, and senior Josh Baktay, 17 recently performed as members of the 2013 All-National Honor Choir sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hayley Hoss says singing with more than 300 people was one of the great experiences of her life.

“It was astounding, the sounds that came from this group. The quality of the music we were making was far better than anything I have ever been in,” said Hoss, a junior at Seneca Valley Senior High School.

Hoss, 17, of Cranberry was one of three Seneca Valley students who performed in Nashville, with the All-National Honor Choir, a 350-member group whose members are considered among the best young singers in the country.

Sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, the performance was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in late October.

“It was very competitive to get in. They are dedicated and hard-working students. We are so very proud of these outstanding young musicians and their achievement,” said Seneca Valley Choir Director Bobi-Jean Alexander.

To earn a spot in the All-National choir, students had to have participated in a state or regional honors choir. They also had to submit a video audition.

Hoss, who wants to be a music educator, sang an art song for her audition.

Josh Baktay, 17, a senior at Seneca Valley, auditioned with “Cantate Domino” by Hans Hassler, a German Renaissance composer, and “Song To the Moon” by Z. Randall Stoope, an American composer of modern choral music.

“It was the largest choir I'd ever been in. It was fantastic to sing with so many gifted singers,” said Baktay, who plans to attend medical school.

Baktay and Hoss have studied music since elementary school.

Lance Hahn, 17, a junior, said that participating in the choir was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of it. I absolutely had a great time, meeting kids from other states and being with two of my closest friends from Seneca Valley.”

The All-National Honors Ensembles also have a concert band, a symphony orchestra and jazz ensemble.

The concert band and symphony orchestra each featured approximately 150 instrumentalists, while the jazz ensemble had 20 members.

Rollo Dilworth, associate professor of choral music education and head of the music education department at Temple University's Boyer School of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, led the choir.

“He was phenomenal. He was personable and really knew what he was talking about and how to get great sound out of a choir,” Hoss said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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