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Choir members earn national recognition

Brittany Workman/Daily globe Sibley-Ocheyedan High School juniors Josh Earll (left) and Peter Meyer are among eight Iowa students selected to perform in this year's American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Chicago.

SIBLEY, Iowa -- When Peter Meyer and Josh Earll sent in audition CDs for a spot in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Men's National Choir in September 2010, they never imagined they would be chosen to perform at the conference in Chicago. Notice of their acceptance arrived in November, surprising the Sibley-Ocheyedan juniors, who sing in the school choir.

"I didn't know about it (the audition) until the last day," Meyer recalled about the selection process. "Mr. Koerselman asked me if I wanted to send in a CD, and I said, 'Sure, I might as well.' I didn't think it could hurt to give it a try."

"I thought I would send in a CD and hope for the best," Earll added.

Sibley-Ocheyedan's choir director, Corky Koerselman, allowed any interested student to submit an audition CD, which included performances of a variety of musical scales, "America the Beautiful" sung a cappella and a classical piece.

Meyer and Earll's talents was noticed, and the two were among eight students selected from the state of Iowa to perform in the men's choir with representatives from all 50 states.

Performing among a group of talented musicians is nothing new to these teens who have performed at All-State Choir in the past, but the two are anxious and honored to be selected to sing during such a prestigious conference.

"It's tough, but at the same time you get to see and learn from a lot of other singers," Meyer said of the heightened level of musicianship. "We're exposed to so many different styles of music."

"We're used to being one of the better, more musically inclined students in our high school," Earll added. "When we sing in national choirs, everyone is as good or better. It's a completely different experience being among such a talented group of singers that are all recognized at a national level."

Together with their choir director, Earll and Meyer were to travel nine hours to Chicago for the four-day conference, which will culminate Saturday with a concert in the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago.

"What I like best about these types of events is the opportunity to meet a lot of people from all parts of the country and have a chance to sing with amazing singers," Meyer said.

The conference will be filled with hours of rehearsal and observation of other choral groups, yet Meyer and Earll hope to utilize this opportunity to better their vocal abilities. The situation will be different this time around, however, as the two will be fully prepared to sing, unlike their audition experience.

"Mr. Koerselman helped us out a lot," Earll said of the entire process. "We wouldn't have been able to make it this far without his help along the way."