Julie-Michelle Manohar, a 16-year-old junior from Ames High School, recently performed at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House as part of the prestigious 2017 High School Honors Performance Series (HPS) honor choir. The HPS program provides a selective learning and performance opportunity to qualified high school musicians who are invited to apply after being nominated by music teachers/directors familiar with their accomplishments. Students are accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board based on their talent and achievements demonstrated in the application and audition recording.
Julie-Michelle (pictured right) auditioned and was selected to sing Soprano-1. HPS processed 18,000 nominations this year for their various programs at the Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House. According to the director, Nancy Richardson, 750 of these nominations were for the 2017 High School HPS at the Sydney Opera House of which only 150 were selected- 80 for the HPS choir, and 70 for the HPS orchestra. This was an international program; performers arrived from 44 states within the United States, Guam, several provinces of Canada, Australia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea.
Dr. Jeffery L. Ames, a distinguished conductor and composer, serving as Director of Choral Activities at Belmont University, conducted the choir. On July 10, the honor choir performed “Goin’ Home” by Antonín Dvořák, arranged Paul Langford, “Three Australian Bush Songs” by Iain Grandage, “My Wordless Prayer” by Craig Courtney, “Tshotsholoza,” a South African Freedom Song, arranged by Jeffrey L. Ames, “The Call of Music” by Joseph Martin at the Sydney Opera House. Their final number was a gospel tune: “Let Everything That Hath Breath,” by Dr. Jeffery Ames himself. After a pre-screening and a second round of auditions, Julie-Michelle was one of two people selected to sing a solo in that piece.
In her own words: “I was accepted into the 2017 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House, but I chose to do the Sydney program instead. I feel so honored to have been able to work with outstanding musicians and directors from all over the world. To be able to come together to perform at the beautiful Sydney Opera House is an experience I’ll never forget.”