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Two Ernest Righetti Students to Perform with National Honor Choir at Carnegie Hall

Nicholaus Paulus
Nicholaus Paulus

Two student vocalists who usually sing in the Ernest Righetti High School choir are moving up a step to Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Junior Ashley Taff and senior Nicholaus Paulus were recently notified that they will join the 300-member National Honor Choir at the famous venue in February. More than 10,000 students from the United States and Canada prepared audition CDs in early fall.

Choir Director Denise Paulus believes the school’s vocal program eases stress and allows confidence to “soar.”

"As soon as they enter choir, they instantly sense that they are part of a big family,'' Paulus said. "They quickly realize that the success of the choir depends on every member doing his or her part. In this huge sea of high school faces, they instantly matter.”

With a little extra help and private lessons from Judith Dunlore, Paulus and Taff nailed their audition performances. They both sang Italian arias, and Taff, in addition, sang an old Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts.”

Ashley Taff
Ashley Taff

Taff began singing when she was about 8 years old and believes all the hard work has led to a new and exciting "opportunity." Paulus, who began holding simple harmony in a car seat, said participating in choir has helped build a belief that he can succeed.

“A cool thing about choir is that there are so many different types of people that you would never meet in any other circumstance,’’ Paulus said. “As for honor choir, that is like icing on the cake for me as a senior.’’

ERHS has four choirs and between 120 and 160 students who sing their hearts out most every day.

— Kenny Klein represents the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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