Milton Hershey School Student Earns Spot in PMEA Region V Chorus
TJ Kramer, Milton Hershey School Senior, loves making himself and others happy through song. TJ recently accomplished one of his goals by earning a spot in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s (PMEA) Region V Chorus, an opportunity to share his talent with even more people.
“It takes a lot of work, grit, and dedication to learn the pieces,” Jen Wagner, MHS Choir Director, said.
TJ began his road to Region V Chorus with Wagner encouraging him to audition for PMEA’s District 7 Chorus. He learned two pieces and placed 11th out of 50 students.
The District Chorus Festival, held Jan. 13 and 14 at Solanco High School in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, gave TJ the chance to expand the vocal skills he learned at MHS.
“It was very surreal because I’ve never met anyone who has cared about choral singing so much, every student was on the edge of their seat listening to the director (Dr. Robert Bigler of Lancaster Bible College),” TJ said. “I wanted to match their energy.”
Auditions for Regional Chorus were held during the district festival. Wagner and Sarah Shafer, MHS Choir Director, helped TJ perfect his articulation and diction for seven musical pieces.
“When he sang ‘Shenandoah,’ I got chills,” Wagner said.
TJ will travel to Cumberland Valley High School on Feb. 25 for the regional competition, where he will have the opportunity to audition for the state choir.
“Competitions and opportunities like this push our students to a high level of excellence,” Wagner said of the experience.
Wagner credits TJ’s “incredible work ethic” for his success, which extends beyond the choral room. TJ takes advantages of the many hands-on learning opportunities available at MHS, including school musicals, dance team, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, and the ProStart Culinary Team.
His choral, musical, and dance experiences are part of the school’s VPA program. Every student at MHS has the ability to participate in VPA activities, allowing them to express themselves, ignite their passions, and develop their social and emotional skills. MHS covers the costs of all instruments, equipment, and lessons, while offering students individualized attention with highly-qualified instructors.