Lindsey Reilly, a junior at Saint Bernard School, has been named to the All- National Honor Ensembles Mixed Choir by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
Lindsey is one of 30 Soprano 2 members selected among the thousands of applicants from across the nation to be part of the 240-person choir. She is also the only student in southeastern Connecticut to be chosen for any All-National Honor Ensemble.
“I was so excited. I had auditioned as a sophomore and I didn’t expect to be considered. I can’t believe that I got in. It’s crazy to think that I will be singing with some of the best high school singers in the country. This is such an honor,” said Lindsey, who has been singing for as long as she can remember.
When she heard about her selection (and after a moment or two of tears and rejoicing with her family), Lindsey contacted the director of music at Saint Bernard L School, Mrs. Anne Halloran Tortora.
According to NAfME, All- National Honor Ensembles represent the top performing high school musicians in the country. Students must first compete at their local, regional and state levels to be eligible for consideration. All applicants then compete at the national level for this distinguished honor. Each year, students perform under the direction of some of the most prominent conductors in the United States.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s performances will be virtual. With the impact of COVID-19, NAfME educators across the country have had to prepare their students for competition virtually. In a typical year, Mrs. Tortora would have spent countless in-person hours coaching and preparing Lindsey for her audition. But with the pandemic, that just wasn’t possible. Lindsey practiced on her own, Zoomed with Mrs. Tortora, and when it was safe to do so, limited distanced in-person coaching took place.
“Lindsey displayed a tremendous amount of patience, focus, and good humor while preparing for her audition,” Mrs. Tortora said.
In place of an in-person audition in front of judges, Lindsey submitted a video, choosing to sing two selections instead of one. “In some ways it was a little bit easier than being in front of the judges, but it was also a little strange not being there in person," she said.
She is looking forward to meeting the other students in the ensemble over Zoom and being conducted by Dr. Frances Fonza.
Lindsey transferred to Saint Bernard School as a sophomore, and quickly found her place. Not only is Lindsey a gifted musician and a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, she is also a strong academic student and a member of the girls’ soccer team. Mrs. Tortora describes Lindsey as a humble person and all-around team player.
“All of our students at Saint Bernard are great. Lindsey is just another example of the way our kids embody leadership among their peers and guide the younger students, showing them the way.”
As the music department launches its latest honor society, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Junior Chapter for seventh and eighth- graders, leadership by the Music Council and students such as Lindsey will be instrumental in helping younger students. Music students, like all students at Saint Bernard School, believe that they have a responsibility to pass onto younger students the knowledge and instruction they have received. The motto of the department is “Saint Bernard School Music, Where Tradition Does Not Graduate.”
We look forward to hearing Lindsey as part of the All-National Honor Mixed Choir. In addition, we congratulate John Paul Hammond and Julie Lin for being selected for the 2019/2020 All State Festival. Currently, seven students have completed audition videos for the 2020/2021 Eastern regional competition.
By Kim Hodges