By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Bedford High School Senior Joe Neveux never expected to be chosen for the All-National Honors Choir. After all, no one from Bedford had even auditioned for a spot in one of the four ensembles—choir, band, jazz band and orchestra— since the 1990’s.
“Every year you audition for the Senior Districts,” said Neveux, a tenor, describing the road to the Nationals. “From there, I got recommended for All-State. I auditioned— but it was a stretch. All-State is pretty hard from Massachusetts—pretty competitive. When I got into that, I was psyched. It was a big step—almost life-changing, musically. Once All-State was over, I found out I was eligible to audition for Nationals because I fit the criteria. So, [chorus teacher Ms. Katrina Faulstich and I] just worked on the same piece I used for the All-State audition. We worked on that a lot.
“I sent in the video [audition] on a wish and a prayer, that’s all I could do—although we did do a lot of takes to get it as good as possible,” Neveux continued. “Actually getting in was so far out of my imagination. I had heard of kids from Bedford going to [Eastern Districts] but Nationals just didn’t even seem like a possibility. I thought, ‘send it in and if we get in, fantastic. If we don’t, you know, it’s not the end of the world.’
“But, yeah! I got in!” Neveux exclaimed.
“You should have heard him on the phone when I called him with the results over the summer,” Faulstich said with a smile.
Neveux has lived in Bedford for nine years and began to sing in 7th grade although he started playing the cello earlier before switching to the bass. About the experience of learning music, Neveux said he realizes how lucky he is to go to school in Bedford because “not everybody gets this.”
“For the majority of the country, music was the first to go,” said Neveux of cuts in education during lean economic years. “I’m very thankful that I’ve been through this program and that other kids behind me will have the opportunity, too, to get to Nationals. Knowing that the music program exists and that it’s a solid core of the Bedford community, I had the security of knowing I had the entire program behind me. Everyone in Bedford looks forward to the musicals and the concerts.”
Neveux’s audition piece for both All-State and All-National was “My True Love Hath My Heart” by Jean Berger. For the performance with the Honors Choir, he will learn seven pieces in a variety of genres including classical, spiritual, contemporary, renaissance, and world music. Conducting the 350 member All-National Choir will be Dr. Rollo Dilworth, composer and Chair of the Temple University Department of Music Education and Music Therapy.
The four All-National music ensembles rehearse at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee starting October 27 and perform on October 30. Neveux and Faulstich will travel to Nashville along with Jim Felker, another member of Bedford Schools’ music faculty. While there, the two teachers will attend a concurrent conference hosted by the National Association of Music Education.
For a comprehensive list of students participating in the 2013 All-National Honors Ensembles, visit: http://musiced.nafme.org/all-national-honor-ensembles/2013-rosters/