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Since the 7th grade, Rahul Bharadwaj has been taking voice lessons, encouraged by his mom who sang when she was younger. When Rahul came to Moreau three years ago, he joined the choir.
"What I like about the choir is that so many people come together in one voice," Rahul said. "You have to be so precise because if one person makes a mistake then it changes the entire ensemble."
Last year, Rahul was rewarded for all his hard work when he was selected to the Honors Performance Series National Choir. This year, he was selected to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-National Honor Ensemble, Mixed Choir, Tenor 1. A Tenor 1 is the highest male voice in the choir.
"Only state-level chorus students are eligible to audition for the national choir, and very few are selected after that process," said Scott Barton, Moreau's choral director. "This is truly the highest honor a student can achieve.
"Rahul is one of only 12 Californians to be accepted into the National Honors Choir and only the second student from Moreau to ever have been accepted," he added.
To participate in the National Honors Choir, singers first have to audition for a regional honors choir, then for their all-state chorus. Last year, 16 Mariners made it to regionals and six singers went on to the all-state chorus.
Regionally, the individual singer must prepare and perform an Italian Operatic Aria, by memory, for a panel of two judges. These judges assess the singer's musicianship skills, music literacy or "reading" ability, aural skills, and basic vocal tone development.
The student must also read and perform at first sight a vocal line which is unfamiliar to him or her -- in one minute. The student is provided only the starting pitch and must perform the notated music exactly as written to exhibit his or her skill level.
"Of the more than 4,500 students from California who audition for a coastal region choir, only 300 are accepted," Scott said. "From there, only 150 will progress to state choir and the number of students who move on to the national honors choir typically remain in the single digits.
"Only students who can read music at the highest level are accepted into the honors choirs," Scott added. "Having a lovely voice isn't what makes a singer, the skills developed in the practice room, private lesson, or school choral program are crucial to become a life-long, self-sufficient musician."
Last year, Rahul performed at New York's Carnegie Hall. This year, he will be performing with the 350-member mixed chorus in a gala concert at Walt Disney World. The NAfMe All-National Honor Ensembles will consist of 670 of the nation's top student musicians performing in four ensembles: a concert band, orchestra, mixed chorus and jazz ensemble.
While music is a hobby for Rahul, he says he may pursue music in college and be part of his college choir.