April 20, 2013

Student keeps eyes on musical prize


---- — CHAMPLAIN — Patricia Coupal inches closer to her career aspirations with each musical accomplishment.

At her home, she regularly puts on shows when family came to visit. When she was young, she sang in the choir at St. Mary’s Church in Champlain.

During spring break, the alto 2 received more validation as she performed in the National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Honors Chorus at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Conn.

“It was definitely incredible,” said Coupal, who is a senior at Northeastern Clinton Central School. “It was nice to be able to work with a choral group of that caliber. Three-hundred and sixty-two kids come together from different states and four from Europe, too. They are all very talented. It was nice to meet the other ones to see what their experiences were, how they got there and how their schools operated, which is different from mine.”

Coupal has studied with Kathy Kokes as a member of Northeastern’s Choral Department since she was in elementary school. Kokes accompanied her to Connecticut.

“She was selected for the New York State Conference All-State Chorus,” Kokes said. “From that point, she was recommended for the All-Eastern Chorus and was selected. Seeing as she is the only student from all of Clinton County that was selected for the All-Eastern Chorus, it is really quite an honor.”

Targeting this opportunity began in the fall of 2011.

“(That’s) when I actually started working with her on the solo that got her selected for the All-Eastern Chorus,” Kokes said.

Coupal’s solo was “Aufenthalt” by Schubert.

In Connecticut, the Honors Chorus was led by prominent conductor/composer Z. Randall Stroope.

“Working with Dr. Stroope was an incredible experience,” Coupal said. “He’s very well-known, and it was a great experience to be able to have. He’s composed a lot of music, and we were able to sing two of his pieces for the program, ‘Song to the Moon’ and ‘Conversion of Saul.’”

Stroope split up the mixed chorus to work with the boys and girls separately.

“He worked with the sopranos and altos and vice versa. I was able to get more one-on-one attention in that aspect. He could focus on our notes and parts and tweak that if he had to,” Coupal said.

Coupal is torn between attending two colleges for music performance, but she will probably choose SUNY Plattsburgh. She took private lessons with Jonathan Streker to prepare for college auditions. 

Performing with the Honors Chorus is motivating her even more.

“Adding to the other things I have done, music is definitely what I want to go into,” Coupal said.

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