Art focus: Brainerd High School choir.
Adviser nomination: “Emily-Rose is in Windfall and A Cappella choir. An all-state soprano, she also co-manages the choirs. Emily-Rose is a leader who is constantly thinking of others, and thoughtfully keeps watch for those who may feel left out. Her positive attitude has made a real impact on the choral program at BHS.”
Memorable fine arts achievement: Being chosen as a member of the 2019-20 Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Choir.
Artist most admired: “The artists I admire most in my life are the artists who truly fostered my love for the arts in my life. Brian Stubbs, my choir conductor; and Karla Johnson, my theater director.”
Other fine arts activities: Theater, Advanced Placement Music Theory, Windfall and A Cappella Choir.
How has choir helped you grow as a person: “I’ve been in choir since sixth grade. Music has been a big part of my life growing up. Music has helped me foster relationships and in this last year being choir manager, it taught me a lot about communicating with people as an adult and facilitating large groups and running events, like our Halloween party doing little chores for Stubbs. So, yeah it has taught me a lot of growth, in regards to my professional life moving forward as I become a music educator, working with people in am amicable.
“All these skills are transferable and next year I am going to St. Olaf and majoring in music education.”
With all the music electives, why choir: “I actually started off with band and choir. I chose choir as it has always been in my family. My uncle was in an a capella choir (at BHS) when Mr. (Michael) Smith was conducting it and all my older sisters were in it. So I thought it was a no brainer that I would join choir. In band, I played the trumpet for four years and then I switched to the French horn. This year I decided to drop it because I wanted to do Windall and Music Theory as it is more in line with my passion and focus and band was something I just did because I love music. I miss it sometimes because singing and playing an instrument has two different skills and they have different kind of emotions and feelings with them, but I am learning the piano now and it helps fill a void.”
How does singing make you feel: “It’s hard to explain, but it is very fulfilling for me emotionally. You get this feeling, like in an ensemble you get a feeling of connectedness, not only to the conductor or the people you are singing with, but also to the audience. It’s like a special kind of language in a sense. Everyone can speak it and understand it and the right song can say something that no human being can say. ... It's amazing.”
Biggest accomplishment in choir: “I would have to say the all state choir. I auditioned for it in my junior year and I didn't really then conceptualize how — and not to sound pretentious — about how big a deal it was until I was there. When I got there this summer I was like there are a lot of people here and at the camp they told us this is the biggest honor a Minnesota high school choir student can receive. So now I get my name on a little plaque.
“That experience was so profound to me, like in a spiritual sense. That camp was at St. Olaf, as to part of the reason why I fell in love with the school. I was conducted by Dr. Therees Hibbard (a visiting professor of music) and she is so wise and she had so much to teach people. She had me in tears almost every day. She taught us about body singing when you feel the music in the body and we were dancing and walking and stomping and holding hands and swaying — that is when I knew I needed to go into music, that was the moment.”
Proudest piece: “A piece we are doing right now ‘A Silence Haunts Me’ by Jake Runestad. It is about Bach and is based off a letter he wrote to his brothers when he was going deaf. He speaks about how it’s his most perfect sense and if he lost it his life would be meaningless, as he talks about taking his life. Runestad composed this brilliant piece that fit perfectly and captures his feelings and it’s really intense. It is a difficult piece, but I’m super excited to sing at the MMEA Festival this year.”
Favorite movie: “Moulin Rouge!”
Favorite TV show: “Parks and Recreation.”
Favorite book: “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs.
Favorite song: “Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Jake Runestad.
Favorite band: AJJ.
Favorite restaurant: The Local 218.
Perfect meal: “Chicken enchiladas. I love Mexican.”
Biggest pet peeve: “People who act entitled when it is not due. People think they should be entitled to it but didn’t put in the work.”
Sports/clubs: Theater, WeARE Youth Advisory Clinic and president of the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Hobbies: “I love to craft. Embroidery, sewing, painting and all that jazz. I also love cooking and baking.”
Parents: Patrick “PJ” Severson of Brainerd.