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.