Rochester singers to go to Democratic National Convention
Two Rochester students have been given the opportunity of a lifetime as they join singers from around the country to perform at the Democratic National Convention next week.
Emma Archbold, a junior at Lourdes High School, and Stella Schram, a sophomore at Mayo High School, having been singing their entire lives and have worked to bring smiles to peoples faces through music. However, they never thought that they would get the chance to sing at a national level.
The "Let Freedom SING!" Girlchoir National Convention is a six-day choral festival in Philadelphia. From July 24 to 29, two singers from each state will make up a large choir and travel to different venues around the city to see the sights and, of course, sing.
Archbold and Schram first learned about the Girlchoir National Convention when the choir they are involved in, Bella Voce, was chosen out of all the choirs in Minnesota to pick two delegates to join the rest of the singers in Philadelphia.
"It's a pretty big honor for Rochester to have a choir chosen out of the state," said Shelly Winemiller, the choir director. "So we feel honored and blessed to have been selected and then to send singer delegates from Bella."
Bella Voce is a Rochester young women's choir for high school students grade 9-12 that focuses not only on building up the girls' musical talent, but also to build confidence and gain perspective about the world. From singing at local nursing homes to traveling abroad, Winemiller said that one of the main purposes of the choir is to spread joy through the gift of music.
Being able to pick which girls to send to the convention, Winemiller chose Schram and Archbold to represent Bella Voce and Minnesota on this prestigious adventure.
"I knew that they would put the time and work into it to make it the best possible experience for themselves, for the singers around them and also represent Minnesota well," Winemiller said.
Archbold and Schram said that they were in shock when they first learned that Winemiller had chosen them out of the large Rochester choir.
"At first I was like, really? Really?" Schram said. "I can't believe I was chosen for this."
An honor in itself, the girls will be singing at the Democratic National Convention for their final performance in Philadelphia on July 28, the last day of the convention.
Schram said that she is most excited about the possibility of seeing Hillary Clinton, who is expected to accept the democratic nomination at the convention.
"It's also really cool because we have a female candidate, so I feel like the feeling of women empowerment there is going to be will be just amazing," Schram said.
With music always on the mind, Archbold said that although she is also excited about the of seeing Clinton, Sanders, and other political figures, she has one big hope for the convention.
"We have this theory that, since we're singing a Sara Bareilles song (at the convention), that maybe she'll be there and we'll get to sing backup," Archbold said.
Schram and Archbold have been singing their whole lives, starting out as Bellettes, the choir from singers grades 1-5 as part of Sing out Loud, the same organization as Bella Voce. Winemiller recalled the joy she has felt watching the girls grow throughout the years.
"They've earned it," Winemiller said. "They will be rock stars there, for sure."
Having been the Schram and Archbold's musical mentor for years, Winemiller gave the girls some advice, which she said she doesn't like to do often.
"Be present in the opportunities that you have every single day and never take your gift for granted, your voice," Winemiller said. "Everyone can sing, not everybody pursues it and has the opportunities like these girls do to pursue. It's a huge gift, the gift of music. It is the strongest gift that we have."
Although Schram and Archbold don't really know what to expect as they head off to Philadelphia, what they know for sure is that the trip will be something they will never forget, and will be a story that they will tell for years to come.
"I can't even imagine how amazing it's going to be," Archbold said. "I'm really, really excited."