All nine Maine singers (and their teachers) that were accepted to the All-National Honor Choir, including Ramirez and Richard in the middle of the top row. Schools represented: Scarborough HS; Bonny Eagle; Thornton Academy; Brunswick HS. Jeff Mosher

SCARBOROUGH — In November, two students, Adriana Ramirez and Livie Richard, from Scarborough High School, participated in the 2022 All-National Honor Ensembles Mixed Choir in Washington, D.C. The All-National Honor Ensembles, run by the National Association for Music Education, represent the highest performing high school musicians in the country.

Ramirez said it was an amazing experience. “I got to meet people from New Mexico and Texas and just all the states,” said Ramirez. “And also, I would have never been able to go to D.C. or that area, ever, unless it was for my singing. So, it was really cool. A once in a lifetime opportunity.”

For high school singers, there are different levels at which one can sing. First, there are high school choral programs. The first level above that is district. High schools surrounding Scarborough would be the District honor choir. Up from that is the All-State, the best singers of Maine, and above that the Eastern Division, a regional level. Finally, there is the national level choir.

“And so, when you think about the top three or four singers in a school program, and you take the top three or four singers in a school program all around the country, you get a choir with a skill level that is unlike any ensemble anyone will ever sing in,” said Jeff Mosher, the choral director of Scarborough High School. “So for us directors to sit in the back of the room in rehearsals and listen to a multiple-hundred person choir of such a high caliber, you just sit there and smile. And you think wow, this experience they will remember for the rest of their lives because I would remember this for the rest of my life.”

Students who participated in the Maine All-State festival in the previous calendar year were allowed to audition. The scores from the students’ All-State performance was looked at along with the new audition.

Coming off COVID-19, the auditions were virtual, and the students and Mosher learned about it late. “In our case, we learned about it like four days before it was due,” said Richard. “And so we ended up recording it the day before it was due. And we pretty much learned the entire thing that day.”


“They had a very limited timeline to prepare it,” said Mosher. “And so it was all the more impressive that, on demand, I said learn this and they learned it.”

Ramirez and Richard qualified and traveled to Washington, D.C. for the All-National Honor Ensembles, where they had two days of rehearsal followed by a concert on Saturday night.

Ramirez said the whole experience was very special.

“I just am very passionate about music and everybody else there feels the same way,” he said. “So you get to come together and produce this really cool concert full of people that share this same appreciation for music. It was really awesome.”

Mosher said he appreciated the experience almost as much as the students.

“Put simply, (teaching and supporting students) has been the greatest joy of my life,” said Mosher. “These kids, particularly in this time period, you know living through a pandemic, have shown such incredible resilience and perseverance in music that has made this the greatest joy of my life. And so bringing them to these kinds of festivals and seeing them succeed in such a way that few musicians ever do has been just such a joy.”

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