CHS Top in the State for Opera

Eight Chalmette High School students recently advanced to the second round of the competitive opera competition. CHS and NOCCA had the highest number of students advancing to the next round in this competition that focuses on academic art from the Classical and Romantic periods sung in either Middle English, French, Italian, or German. [L-R]: Devin Cruice, Bailey Milburn, Jenna Adcock, David Meyer, Elijah Geeting, Ariana Blakely, Dallas Blackmore, and Logan Brewer.

Chalmette High School is one of the top schools in the state for students qualifying to compete in the live round of the Donald W. Sr. Vocal Competition. Eight vocalists from CHS will take part in the state-wide opera competition which focuses on academic art from the Classical and Roman periods. Songs must be performed in Middle English, French, Italian, or German.

Annelise Cassar, Music Director of CHS Voices, expressed her joy at the students’ overwhelming success.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of the talented students within our CHS Voices program,” Cassar said. “Their ability to master a wide range of material from more contemporary musical theater and pop to classical opera pieces sets them and our program apart from many in the region.”

This year’s outstanding vocalists are Juniors Devin Cruice, Bailey Milburn, Jenna Adcock, David Meyer, Elijah Geeting, Ariana Blakely, Logan Brewer, as well as Sophomore Dallas Blackmore. These performers will compete against 25 other finalists on Sunday, October 21 at Loyola University’s Nunemaker Hall.

Superintendent Doris Voitier said the success of so many CHS students at varying age levels is a testament to the exemplary training occurring throughout the district, culminating at Chalmette High School.

“General music is offered to all St. Bernard elementary school students. Band and chorus electives are offered at the middle and high school level,” Voitier explained. “Those interested in playing an instrument or participating in their school’s band have the opportunity to do so starting as early as fourth grade.”

She said students interested in theatre can also participate in school plays throughout the year as well as audition for the intensive training that is part of the district’s Summer Performing Arts Academy.

Voitier said creating these varied opportunities is an important component of the district’s arts program.

“Our school system’s music program is one of the best in the state,” Voitier said. “From kindergarten through 12th grade, students have the opportunity to develop their talents preparing them for their musical journey post-graduation.”

She credited the hard work of Annalise Cassar and the team of dedicated educators including Arianna Cassar Cruice, Abbie Schilling, Karen Melerine, and volunteer pianist Tommy Zanca who have been working closely with the students.

“Receiving this state-wide recognition shows that our efforts are paying off, and having 8 students reach the finals is truly music to our ears. We are very proud of these Owls.”

To learn more about the art and music programs offered at each school, families should contact the principal or music teacher at the school site.