Standout Student: Armstrong’s Sara Shiff
Choir Director Stephanie Trump teaches an elite group of singers at Armstrong High School. Students must audition to get into the upper level class.
“It’s predominately seniors,” explains Trump.
Students focus on high level music and global music. They explore styles and backgrounds of music too.
Student Sara Shiff made the elite group as a junior, and Trump says she stands out.
“At Armstrong, we’ve been fortunate in all of these years and decades at having a lot of singers. When you look at decades worth of work, you can see singers going out and doing great things as singers, both individually and professionally” explains Trump. “I think Sara is in that caliber.”
Practice makes Perfect
Sara comes from a musical family, but didn’t get serious about honing her skills until she prepared for her bat mitzvah. She sang with a relative, who was a cantor, and her performance impressed her family.
“The response to that song was very positive, so I thought maybe I should start doing that,” says Sara.
Since then, she’s become very involved in the vocal music and theater program at Armstrong High School.
“I spend more time in this room than I do awake in my house,” says Sara.
Sara is training for spring competitions with choirs at Armstrong and she’s preparing to be in an upcoming product of “Spam-a-lot.” She also recently competed in Minnesota’s chapter of the National Association of Music Teachers of Singing competition at St. John’s University. Sara won her division in early high school women’s classical and advanced to the semi-finals in the early high school women’s musical theater division.
Sara might go into music after high school, but that’s not her only option. She’s a good student who takes advanced classes.
“These competitions I’m doing are helpful to see if I could end up making it,” explains Sara. “Because it’s a big risk, as anyone going into any profession, whether you are going to be a doctor or a lawyer, which is something else I aspire to be.”