Matthew Fecko is only a sophomore, but at the prestigious Illinois Music Educators Association District Festival, held at New Trier High School Saturday, Nov. 8, he represented Saint Viator High School’s choral program.
After a rigorous audition process in October, Matthew learned he had been chosen as an all-district selection to sing at the festival, which takes in students from more than 30 high schools in Northwestern Cook, Southern Lake and part of Kane and McHenry counties.
“(Matthew) shows great promise as a musician,” said Saint Viator Choral Director Kristina Sandrock. “I know he will carry this experience forward with him into the rest of his years in the Saint Viator choirs.”
Participating in the daylong festival was no walk in the park. The choir rehearsed under guest conductor, David Holdhusen, who is the director of choral activities and a distinguished professor of choral music at the University of South Dakota.
“We sing not to impress, but to inspire,” he told the students during their rehearsal.
Their selections were serious, befitting of an elite concert choir.
They opened with Mendelssohn’s, “There Shall A Star Come Out of Jacob,” before singing the lyrical, “I Am Not Yours,” by Randall Stroope, as well as the Kenyan folk song, “Wana Baraka,” arranged by Shawn Kirchner. They closed with the powerful anthem, “Battle of Jericho,” arranged by Moses Hogan.
Audience members appreciated their musicianship and versatility. At the end of the concert, they gave them an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Singing comes naturally to Matthew. His mother, Lucy, sings in the choir at St. James Church and he also follows in the footsteps of his sister, Sara ’13, who was an all-district selection her senior year.
She also starred in the musicals and participated in virtually every choir at Saint Viator, including serving as a guest soloist with the jazz band. She now is pursuing a double major in music and biology at Loyola University Chicago.
As for Matthew, beyond singing in Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, he was just cast as one of the brothers in this year’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Look for him to have a featured solo.