Emily Hackl, a UW–Platteville choral music education major from Fond du Lac, won this year’s Wisconsin Choral Directors Association Student Conducting Competition.
The event was held in conjunction with the WCDA’s State Convention in Milwaukee. Hackl was one of eight undergraduate students from around the state who were selected to compete.
“Emily represents the best of the future of choral music in the schools,” said Dr. Robert Demaree, UW–Platteville music professor and director of choral activities. “She is completely dedicated to excelling in all areas of her professional work–as a singer, as a conductor, and as an educator. Her tenacity and thirst to just get better clearly helped her in this competition–she worked very hard to achieve this tremendous honor and bested seven other conductors from all over the state. I’m just very proud of her.”
Communication skills within the rehearsal setting and through conducting gestures were the focus of the competition. Each student conducted two pieces of music, “Set Me As A Seal” by René Clausen and “Zigeunerleben” by Robert Schumann, in a 15-minute rehearsal with the lab choir, the Muskego High School Chorale.
Although the lab choir was already familiar with the music, the student conductors each had to refine their performance.
“It was such an amazing and thrilling experience to be able to conduct one of the best high school choirs in the state,” said Hackl. “They were very receptive to my gestures and quite enthusiastic. To be able to be doing this type of work as an undergrad is quite rewarding. It proves that all my hard work at the university has paid off and I am on track to becoming a strong asset to the music education field.”
When Hackl received her plaque at the WCDA Awards Luncheon in January, it was in front of some of the most prestigious and best choral educators in the state. “It was so humbling and surreal to be recognized in front of such influential people,” she said.
Being seated next to her high school choral teacher, Sarah McVeigh, made the experience that much better, Hackl said.
Hackl guest-conducted the UW–Platteville Chamber Choir on two pieces during its March 3 performance.