Making music together

February 08, 1997

By Kate Coleman

Staff Writer

North Hagerstown High School students Stephanie Hummel and Henry O'Neill will celebrate their first anniversary of dating Valentine's Day. Although there will be no time for a movie or romantic dinner, the couple will be making beautiful music together - on the concert stage.

Stephanie and Henry will join 196 students from all over the state to perform as the Senior Maryland All State Chorus at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

They will arrive Friday morning, and a look at the weekend's schedule indicates there will be little time for more than eating, sleeping and rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing.


Soprano Stephanie, a junior, and first tenor Henry, a sophomore, are members of Curt Shetler's concert choir class at North High. Stephanie, who says she has been singing since she was a little girl, joined the class for pleasure, but since has "really gotten into it."

Henry sang with the Junior All State Chorus last year. Both are planning to be music teachers.

The two are among the close to 900 students who auditioned for the chorus at several sites in Maryland, says Mary Ellen Cohn, music festival director for the Maryland Music Educators Association which sponsors the All State Band, Orchestra and Chorus program.

The concert program was chosen in conjunction with guest conductor Charlene Archibeque of San Jose State University in California. It includes a Kyrie from a Mozart Mass, a piece by Handel and a spiritual - all very demanding, Cohn adds.

In their spare time - and there hasn't been much while preparing for the concert - the couple likes to listen to music together or go to the movies. Henry says he listens to anything; Stephanie is partial to classical music and Broadway show tunes. The pair missed an opportunity to perform together last year when snow canceled North High's production of "The Wizard of Oz." Stephanie had been cast as the Tin Man, Henry as the Scarecrow.

Both have taken piano lessons for about 12 years. Their instrumental training and sight-reading skills gave them an advantage in state-level auditions, according to former Clear Spring Middle School music teacher Ruth Stenger Japzon, who helped them prepare.

The choristers will have to sing all works in the concert from memory. Stephanie describes their task as "challenging. It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun."

But they don't mind practicing -together.

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