It wouldn't be February on 10th Street without a team fine-tuning its plans for state finals in Indianapolis.
Three students will represent Marquette in the vocal portion of Saturday's Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) State Solo and Ensemble competition at Perry Meridian High School.
Senior Quinn Larkin and junior Kenzie Losinski will be making their second appearance at the state competition while senior Natalia Ruiz will make her debut.
The Marquette student body was treated to a sneak peek of Larkin's rendition of "Mein Herr Marquis" at the all-school talent show held during Catholic Schools Week. There, she displayed the expansive vocal range one would expect to hear at a state competition.
Losinski, whose voice has impressed since her arrival on campus two-plus years ago, will sing "A Little China Figure." Ruiz will perform "Widmung", a 19th-century classic by Robert Schumann-Liszt.
Marquette's recent showings at district and state competitions reinforce a strong undercurrent of talent and flair from the school's performing arts department which is led by Amy Crane. In her 21st year as head of the department, Crane is pleased with both the accolades bestowed upon her students as well as their ability to compete with peers from all over the state.
In addition to the triumvirate bound for Indy this weekend, the school's large ensemble, which performed at districts for the first time ever, finished two points shy of a gold and two other soloists were one-half point shy of qualifying for state.
"This is extremely difficult. Just the fact these kids get up there and compete is a great accomplishment. And the fact they're doing it with schools like Chesterton and Valpo show they can compete at the same level as the 'big guys'," Crane mentioned.
The way in which Crane's team prepares for the state competition mirrors that of an athletic team in a number of ways. The food and drink consumed 24 hours leading into competition require consideration and planning. Spicy foods, which can trigger heartburn, are off-limits. Water, lemon tea, fruits and vegetables are a vocalist's friend. Meanwhile, soda pop, milk, sugar, carbohydrates can adversely affect the throat and diaphragm. Once the final song is sung, though, a table at Buca di Beppos awaits these Blazers for a post-competition meal.
Where these state finals run counter from say, a basketball, or, football state tournament, is that teams are not competing against one another. Judges evaluate each student on a rubric which includes criteria such as tone, note accuracy, and interpretation.
Whatever the result tomorrow, Crane hopes her performers will take a second to step back, take inventory of the moment, and savor it.
"I told them, 'Look at what you've done. This is something you probably won't ever do again in your lifetime. Enjoy it.'," Crane said.