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MHS singer earns All-State music status

Medfield High School sophomore Matthew McGrory distinctly remembers the moment his passion for singing took hold.

“I was about five years old sitting on our kitchen counter like it was a stage, and belting out hymns from church at the top of my lungs,” says McGrory with a laugh. “I think I got such a kick out of people’s reaction to my singing that it just made me want to keep doing it.”

Ten years later, McGrory has long left the kitchen-counter stage behind, and will soon be appearing at Boston Symphony Hall in the All-State Concert as a member of the choral ensemble. The concert is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.

Earning All-State status from Massachusetts Music Educators Association requires passing two stressful auditions – each one requiring a high degree of preparation and practice for hundreds of chorus, band, orchestra and jazz band students across the Commonwealth. The first step is a fall audition for the Senior Northeast District Festival in January. From there, students with the top 25 percent scores are invited to audition for the All-State Ensembles that perform in Boston. In addition to McGrory, Medfield High School had nine music students who were accepted into this year’s initial Senior District Festival.

As a vocalist who performs regularly in musical theatre (including the lead role in Pippin at MHS next month), stressful auditions come with the territory for McGrory. However, he notes the All-State process was uniquely challenging.

“There was just so much preparation involved, including developing my sight-reading skills and working on my vocal technique so that I could delve deeper into the pieces,” said McGrory, who is the first MHS choral student to earn All-State status since 2014.

McGrory credits the encouragement and support he received from MHS Choral Director Ann Marie Tremblay that made all the difference with the All-State audition.

“At one point – the day before the audition – I froze. I was so nervous, and just wasn’t sure if I could go through with it. But Mrs. Tremblay instilled so much confidence in me by running through the pieces, letting me know what I needed to work on, and just being encouraging and supportive. She was great, and I’m so thankful for everything she’s been doing to help me – including preparing for the concert next month,” said McGrory.

“This is just the beginning for Matthew as he continues along his journey as a young musician. I’m proud of his tenacious work, and look forward to seeing him among the passionate singers of the All-State Chorus,” said Tremblay.

Over the long haul – whether it’s finding piano and voice teachers, supporting his musical theater and Medfield chorus participation, or working out the logistics of auditions, rehearsals and performances (including a national choral competition in Chicago last year) -- McGrory is most grateful to his mother, Gretchen. “My mom is amazing -- she’s been nothing but supportive.”

Medfield High School students receiving Senior District Honors are as follows:

Chorus: Dylan Brunelli, Michael Koellner, Matthew McGrory, and Brice Sinnett. Band:
Brigitte Cronin, Gideon Lung, and Patrick O'Connor. Jazz band: Jon Kerivan, Joe Pagliazzo, and Justin Plakias.

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