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Three Upper School Vocalists Shine in Statewide Honors Chorus
Sunishka Deshpande ’22,  Olivia Rivera ’25 and Lindsey Carter ’22 with Cameron Bolin and her baby

Ravenscroft choir director Cameron Bolin, with her baby, poses with Sunishka, Olivia and Lindsey at the NCMEA High School Honors Chorus performance.

Three members of the Upper School choir — Lindsey Carter ’22, Sunishka Deshpande ’22 and Olivia Rivera ’25 — were selected to participate in the 2021 North Carolina Music Educators Association High School Honors Chorus.

The NCMEA Honors Chorus is an auditioned ensemble made up of talented singers from across the state. This year, more than 600 students from 78 schools auditioned for the 44th annual event, of which 178 were selected to participate. 

The singers spent two days working with Julie Yu, professor of music and Co-Director of Choral Studies at Kansas State University, culminating in a performance on Sunday, Nov. 7, in Winston-Salem. 

“These dedicated students invested hours of extracurricular preparation — listening, annotating and practicing their music on their own and with me during community and lunch hours,” Robert Strebendt, the long-term substitute for choir director Cameron Bolin, said. “I believe this preparation enabled them to sing and rehearse at a very high level.”

For the Ravens who were selected to participate, the experience was unforgettable.

“The most exciting aspect of being involved in the Honors Chorus this year was definitely being surrounded by so many people who were so talented but also, like me, so passionate about music. With a group that big, with every single person excited, engaged and motivated, the hours of rehearsal and the concert itself had an energy that ultimately made the entire experience surreal,” Lindsey said. “I have never experienced anything like it in my fine arts career, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Of note is that Olivia was one of only five freshmen to participate in this statewide honor — although she was unaware of that distinction at the time.

“In all honesty, throughout the event, I had no idea how old anyone really was, and the beautiful thing is that it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from; we were simply making music together,” she said. “However, knowing that I was one of the youngest singers selected reminds me how grateful I am for the amazing teachers and fine arts community at Ravenscroft. I could not have achieved this accomplishment without their hard work and support, and I hope to have the opportunity to experience Honors Chorus again.”

As a senior, Sunishka was especially determined to wring from the experience all that she could, auditioning for two solo opportunities and making it to the semifinals for both — one of only three singers per solo to do so. She said she welcomed the challenges throughout the weekend. 

“This opportunity helped me step out of my comfort zone, as a member of the Ravenscroft choir, into a challenging, uplifting environment,” she said. “I was able to learn new exercises that engaged both sides of my brain and used varied dynamics in our repertoire. The N.C. Honors Chorus weekend has helped me grow as a chorus singer, and I will continue to implement these strategies in choir class.”

Congratulations to these outstanding vocalists. Learn more about our fine arts programs here.