Natick High School freshman Mackenzie Parmenter recently sang with the Massachusetts Eastern District of the National Association for Music Education at a two-day festival at Boston Latin High School.
Along with senior Richard Conaway, Parmenter represented Natick High at the prestigious event where some of the most accomplished high school singers in the state performed.
Patch recently decided to ask Parmenter some questions. Here's what transpired:
Patch: You auditioned and were selected for the honors choir for the Massachusetts Eastern District of the National Association for Music Education earlier this year. Could you tell me a little bit about the audition process, and what was your reaction when you were told you were chosen?
Mackenzie Parmenter: The audition consisted of three parts: a scale, a selection of sight-reading, and an already prepared piece. It is a blind audition, which means that the people auditioning cannot see the people who are judging them. You are also not allowed to talk to the judges at all (which I by accident did, but that’s beside the point). I thought I did okay, but having talked to the judge and missed a couple of notes on sight-reading I never thought I would get it. I was doing it to get used to the audition process. I really wanted to be part of it but I never thought I would get in. I was so happy when I got it. It was unreal.
Patch: There were many students from different high schools who auditioned. As a freshman, were you surprised that you were selected considering that a lot of your competition was older and more experienced than you?
MP: I was so surprised. There were so many people who auditioned and who had beautiful, more mature voices than I do. Like I said before, I was never in a million years expecting that I would get in. At the auditions after I was done, I walked back into the auditorium and the people from the couple of schools that had the audition slot after us were singing the audition song and it was truly breathtaking. I got the chills.
Patch: What can you tell us about the two-day festival that you attended recently at Boston Latin High School?
MP: It was a really great experience. It was just a bunch of people who were really passionate about music. It was really nice to be surrounded by all of that. We worked really hard and I was very tired by the end of both days. Singing for that long really does take it out of you. The conductor was incredible. She really made us reach our full potential. We worked really hard on dynamics and making it musical. We also had a lot of really funny times when we got to introduce ourselves and just quick remarks made by the conductor. My favorite song that we sang was “The Moon is Distant from the Sea.” It was a truly beautiful song that really had some impressive dynamics. It was really easy to make friends. The girl that sat next to me and I both got really exited whenever we got to sing “The Moon is Distant from the Sea”. I learned some sign language from another student and had a long discussion with this one student about how it was really nice to be surrounded by all these passionate people. My favorite part of the whole festival happened in practice on the second day. All the other parts except sopranos had very long crescendo that lasted about 2 pages where they would slowly get from pianissimo to fortissimo (really, really quiet to really, really loud). They weren’t really getting it, so the conductor tried something different. They started sitting down and then by the end they were standing up. At this point they really got it and it was breathtaking.
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Patch: You’re a freshman in high school now. How long have you been singing for, and where did you learn to sing? Do you have any formal training? Is singing something that you’ve thought of pursuing in some way long-term as a career?
MP: I have been singing for as long as I remember. I had some formal training when I got to be about 10, but stopped voice lessons when I stopped piano lessons when I was about 12. I started to take lessons again to prepare for the audition. I know that I am not going to be dropping out of singing lessons anytime soon because I really like my teacher and I know that I will get a lot better by working with her. I haven’t really thought about singing as a long-term career, to be honest. I would love to do something that involved singing but I am really interested right now in nutrition and physical therapy (but that will probably change 10 times before I actually have to decide what to do with my life).
Patch: Are you involved in any other activities in or out of school?
MP: I am involved in the High School Swim Team, the Natick Town Team Swim Team (Summer and Winter), and I am also on a USA swim team (Shawmut). I am also a part of Model UN at the high school. I am also volunteering at the winter swim team and over the summer I am volunteering at the beach as a swim assistant. (As you can tell I am very into swimming).