No Treble for Two Chamber Singers at All National Choir

Senior Katja Pennypacker and junior Lia Franco were selected as the first two performers in history to represent NPHS at the All-National Honor Mixed Choir Ensemble


Nina Raman

Junior Lia Franco, left, and senior Katja Pennypacker, right, pose for a photo at Susquehanna University for ACDA, a women's choir and chambers performance.

TOWAMENCIN- Meticulously selecting extremely talented singers all across the United States, the All-National Honor Mixed Choir Ensemble is a prestigious choir. After being held three years prior to this performance, North Penn singers have never been chosen to be a part of this distinguished group. This year, however, senior Katja Pennypacker and junior Lia Franco have made history.

For the first time ever, there will not only be one, but two performers representing the incredible works and talent presented at North Penn High School. Although the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) hosts this illustrious group, the difficult auditions proved to be no treble for these music prodigies.

It is already difficult enough to qualify for All National Chorus, but it is even more arduous, because when selecting students from the northeast, the company tends to select students in the New York area due to their expertise in the performing arts. Pennypacker and Franco changed the odds once they qualified, showing that Pennsylvania students have just as much talent to offer.

NAFME doesn’t just select any student that can match a tune either. Students have to have made districts choir, regionals, states, and then submitting a video audition, all of which both performers completed within the 2015-2016 school year. According to Mr. Matthew Klenk, Choral Director at NPHS, the ranking of each audition also plays a huge part in their acceptance into the nation wide choir. Pennypacker’s ranking was first, and Franco placed sixth.

“I’m excited to see them perform,” stated Klenk. “It’s huge that they made it into this choir.”

Although music may seem like a step by step following of staffs as they digress into mixes of quarter notes and triplets, music has proved to be something more to soprano 2 Pennypacker.

“Music is more than something I do; it’s who I am. Listening to music shuts out the world and reminds me about what truly makes me happy, while the high I feel before, during, and after the performance makes a musician so worthwhile. I truly believe music delivers what cannot be expressed and gives the world a soul,” stated Pennypacker.

Music is more than something I do; it’s who I am.”

— Katja Pennypacker

The senior actively participates in North Penn’s Women’s and Chambers Choir while participating in career study with Mrs. Jennifer Klenk at Penndale Middle School’s choral program. Pennypacker simply adores music and can’t imagine a life without it.

“I intend to go to a conservatory for vocal performance. Singing with an orchestra in an opera house in Europe is the dream,” stated Pennypacker, planning out her life with music.

As of right, the soon to be graduate is humbled to have such a great opportunity. Music is the key to happiness for her. She is excited for the fantastic music that will be made in Grapevine Texas. She appreciates all of the people who have kept her sharp along her road to music success: Mr. Klenk, her vocal teacher, and her parents for “the continuous support, the endless hours of driving, and the abundance of knowledge and advice.”

As a junior, Franco too looks forward to the excited journey music will take her on. As a soprano 2 as well, the melodies of life excite her, but also stress her out. Music relieves her of the common stressors in a high school setting.

“Music is my hobby. I listen to music when I’m stressed, and when I need to relax. I sing songs to calm me down from everything going on at school,” said Franco.

Music is like a different language that comes natural to her. Although she hasn’t planned out her entire future, Franco is considering a double major in college where she will study music and science. Science has always been Franco’s forte, and something she saw in her future, until she realized just how talented her voice was.

“I never expected to make it this far,” stated Franco, astonished at her amazing capability.

She still cannot believe that she made it into the All-National Honor Mixed Choir. Not only is she excited for the music, but also to meet new people who also share her love for music.

Matthew Klenk, Pennypacker, and Franco are currently in Grapevine, Texas, preparing to perform their various pieces that have been practiced to perfection. These two students are making the district’s pride grow immensely, as they represent NPHS’s knack for music.