Spotlight Interview with McGonigle and Sechrist

Photo By: Brady Achterberg
Senior Jeremy Sechrist practices for the competition.

Photo By: Brady Achterberg Senior Jeremy Sechrist practices for the competition.

 Seniors Colleen McGonigle and Jeremy Sechrist will be performing at the Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association (PMEA) from April 17-20 in Erie. In order to receive an invitation they had to standout among hundreds of auditions from across the state, so the honor and prestige involved is massive.

Photo By: Brady Achterberg
Senior Jeremy Sechrist practices for the competition.

  McGonigle is performing at the PMEA as part of the 2013 All State Choir, and Sechrist is performing as part of the State Band Wind Ensemble. Here are their thought on the upcoming performance.

Courier: When did you learn you had been accepted to the PMEA?

McGonigle: I found out at the end of the regionals festival, which was this past weekend; we found out after the concert. They posted a list of our names with our rankings. We had to wait the entire weekend.

Sechrist: I learned the second weekend in March, at the regional band festival.

Courier: What did you do during the auditions?

McGonigle: You prepare your set of music before you go to the festival, and then when you get there… at the festival, we have auditions halfway through the day. And you walk into the room by yourself…. I think there were six judges in the room; none of them were looking at me… they were just kind of chilling there, and you’re given a pitch to start on and by yourself you just sing through all the songs – through the selections.

Sechrist: We had to prepare an audition piece that they told us ahead of time, and then they picked selections from our regionals’ concert music.

Courier: What’s your practice routine? How is it changing for the PMEA?

McGonigle: My practice routine, particularly with PMEA music is… it’s so different from how I practice normal music because the auditions are so different, performing by yourself as opposed to a choral setting, so I do all my practicing on my own, just me and the piano, making sure I’m hitting all the right notes by myself and then practicing and performing in my room.

Sechrist: I try to practice every day, at home and during school study halls, and my practice routine hasn’t changed that much since making states, since I had to audition for… districts, and I was already practicing a lot for those.

Courier: Do you have any big worries about the performance?

McGonigle: Big worries? Not with this festival because for me, being a senior, states is kind of the end of the road for me. There’s no next step after states, whereas all the other levels of PMEA festivals there’s always a next step you can progress to. There is… a placement, but the placement doesn’t really count for anything, so I’m not really worried about that.

Sechrist: There’s no farther I can go past states, and so it’s just kind of like a fun weekend.

Courier: Has this been your dream for a while?

McGonigle: Definitely. Choir has always been a big part of my life, especially in high school. … I went to states last year, and it’s a great experience, but I’m really excited to be going again.

Sechrist: It was a far-off dream to go to states, like I never expected it to actually happen, but as I got closer, it [became] more realistic and then I made it.

Courier: How long have you been interested in music?

McGonigle: My mom was a singer… so I’ve grown up around music, and it’s always been a big part of my life.

Sechrist: I’ve been interested since early in elementary school.

Courier: Do you see music in your career?

McGonigle: I do, actually. I am planning a career in music; I’m hoping to go into a research position with music and neuroscience… how music affects your brain. Hopefully it’ll be interesting.

Sechrist: I’ve thought about a career in music, but that’s not really what I’m going for right now.