It was a moment Addison Fraze will likely never forget.
She was standing in the hallway at Loyola Catholic School talking with friends when her music teacher, Bridget Coughlan Hermer, came up behind her with a letter in her hand and a smile on her face.
Addison turned to her.
“She said ‘Addie you got in!’” she recalled. “And I just burst into tears.”
The letter was from the Minnesota Music Educators Association, and it was informing Addison that the years she spent rehearsing and practicing and taking choir seriously had resulted in her being invited to All-State — a collection of the best high school musicians and singers in the state.
She’ll spend a week in August at St. Olaf College in Northfield rehearsing with a few dozen other students from around the state who have also taken choir seriously, who have also practiced their tails off, who have also excelled at singing. (All-State includes band and orchestra, as well.)
Hermer remembers that moment, too.
“It was wonderful. There were a lot of girls around her that congratulated her,” Hermer said. “It was a good moment … Addie worked so hard to get in. She’s a really determined young woman and a fine musician.”
Addison says she’s loved singing since about third grade. She’s taken private lessons for several years and participated in Mankato Children’s Chorus.
When she arrived at Loyola she started getting more serious about singing. She competed in what is known as “solo and ensemble contest,” which is a sort of annual competition for band and choir students. She earned a superior rating her freshman year, which prompted Hermer to encourage Addison to audition for an honors choir program, to which she was accepted.
Eventually Hermer floated the idea of auditioning for All-State — “the big show” for high school choir, band and orchestra students.
But at the time, Addison had just two weeks to prepare two pieces for the recorded auditions. She went for it, rehearsed hard for the little time she had and, two weeks later, was ready to record her audition tapes.
And, obviously, it worked.
“It all paid off,” Addison said of the two weeks of rehearsals — and all the years leading up to that moment.
All-State participants, in addition to that week-long “band camp” at St. Olaf (and other locations for band and orchestra, including Concordia College in Moorhead and the University of Minnesota-Duluth), reconvene the following February for a concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Music isn’t the only area in which Addison excels. She’s also on Loyola’s volleyball and basketball teams and participates in speech.
While she’s only just completed her sophomore year in high school, Addison is already looking forward to life after high school. With such musical gifts, one might think she’d pick a school where she can continue singing, which she will … but science is her bigger focus.
“Music definitely plays in the back of my mind, but I really love science and would like to go to school for chemical engineering,” she said.
Hermer said it’s a joy to see students have success at the things they love, especially when they work as hard as Addison.
“That’s the thrill of teaching, seeing a young person achieve their goals,” Hermer said. “You know you’re on the right track as an educator when you have a kid get into All State.”
Addison is a high achieving student, for sure. But earning this kind of accolade gives her inspiration to continue working hard.
“I’ve always loved singing, it’s always been a big deal to me, it’s always come somewhat naturally,” she said, “so this was confirmation like, ‘Addie, you made it!’”
There’s one more thing in the back of her mind.
High school students usually get just two chances to make it to All-State, which means she’ll have another chance next year. If she makes it again, she’ll be the first student from Loyola to make All-State two years in a row.