Next stop for Ringgold student, Carnegie Hall
Ringgold Director of Choirs Diane Ader, who doubles as the director of the high school's musical productions, won't require junior Sarah Krempasky to turn in a note to explain why she will be missing several rehearsals the first week of February for this year's production, “Willy Wonka.”
As long as one considers singing in New York's Carnegie Hall on Sunday as a member of the 2013 American High School Honors Performance Series as a valid reason to miss rehearsal.
Ader, after all, had a role Krempasky's absence. Krempasky's trip to New York began last spring when Ader nominated her for the prestigious honor.
“It's extremely unusual for a student to achieve this honor,” said Ader. Two years ago she sent Jared Hancock, now at Mercyhurst College, to the Carnegie Hall extravaganza.
Established to showcase some of the most artistically talented high school students, The Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall will include some 260 students from throughout the United States, Canada and several other nations.
Following Ader's initial nomination, Krempasky submitted the requisite application, which included her music background, performance biography and audition recording, which was reviewed by a staff of music professionals for final selection of those students invited to New York.
Her audition recording included a piece from “Phantom of the Opera” and a German song she rehearsed with her voice teacher.
On Nov. 1 she was notified that she was one of the select few to receive the honor this year and subsequently received sheet of music that she has been rehearsing. Included among the pieces the Honors Choir will perform will be “Ave Maria,” “All the Things You Are,” “You Are the Music,” “The Gloria Fanfare,” and a compilation of George Gershwin's songs.
“We have to practice on our own, and I've been rehearsing,” Krempasky said. “Students are expected to know the pieces when we arrive in New York in order to begin rehearsals immediately.”
Krempasky will travel to New York along with her mother, Lisa, while her father and sister, Ava, will arrive in time for the weekend performance. While in New York City, students will visit major attractions and see “Wicked” on Broadway, in addition to meeting similarly talented students and performing under the auspices of master conductors and collegiate music directors.
“Sarah is quite an expressive singer and an excellent performer,” Ader, in her fourth year as director of choirs, continued, noting that Krempasky is a Soprano 1. “On stage she sings, dances and turns herself into the character. She puts everything into her roles and connects with the audience. Her range has opened phenomenally, and she is one of my highest singers, able to reach the highest notes, as well as being competent in various techniques.”
At Ringgold, Krempasky has performed in school musicals since the eighth grade. She has been cast as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” as Cally in “Guys and Dolls,” and as Ivy in “On the Town.” This year she has the lead in “Willy Wonka.”
When Krempasky returns from New York, she'll leap back into Willy's character, which traditionally was reserved for male performers. However, “when we received the auditions materials for ‘Willy Wonka,' we were informed that Willy could be cast as a male or female and I'm looking forward to the opportunity,” she said.
Krempasky's singing career took off when she was in the seventh grade when the school's choral teacher offered lessons to any takers, and she has been singing ever since.
But, she added, laughing, “Music has always been important for our family.” In fact, legend in the Krempasky household has it that she was born into music.
“When I was born my dad (John Krempasky with whom Sarah shares the same Jan. 28 birthdate) carried me into the house through our music room, which is full of stereos, a dozen guitars, a dulcimer, and other instruments,” she said, chuckling.
With music flowing through her veins, Krempasky has studied voice for three years, the piano for one year, and has studied dance, including modern, tap, ballet, and jazz since she was 3 years old.
But her talents range far beyond the family music room, stage and classroom, where she maintains a 4.0 grade average. Not only is she a member of the school choir and International Thespian Society, but she is also a member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club, Tennis Team, and is captain of both the Ringgold indoor and outdoor dance teams.
Ready to perform in her fourth musical, Krempasky laughingly recalls her second, “Guys and Dolls,” during her freshman year.
“A week prior to the show,” she recalled, “when everyone knew their lines perfectly, we were looking for a way to ease some of the tension. We decided to insert the word ‘pizza' in our lines during the early portion of rehearsal. At one point, one of the cast members even ran across the stage carrying pizza boxes. We definitely surprised our director, but after a few minutes we were back to work.”
With college on the horizon, Krempasky is undecided about her school of choice, but plans to major in musical theater to act, sing, and dance. Her ambition is to spend much more time on Broadway than she will this year, as a full-time performer.
Les Harvath is a freelance writer.