Four Rim Country Middle School students and three Payson High School students faced the music and the Payson Choral Society last week to compete for two scholarships.
Katie Langeliers, a senior at PHS, won the society's $500 high school scholarship, and Alyssa Ann Luethy won the $250 middle school scholarship.
"All the students worked so hard," Payson Choral Society Director Mary Ann Irvine said."We hope to have a special number by all seven contestants at our June 10 concert at the high school. And we hope to have a special number by each of these girls."
Irvine said each contestant had to memorize two vocal pieces, one of which was selected by the scholarship committee.
Alyssa chose "Edelweiss" as her elective song and Katie sang one of her favorite songs, "Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. All the contestants had to sing the choral society's selection, "Climb Every Mountain," from "The Sound of Music."
Katie sang "Pie Jesu" in Latin. "It means Holy Jesus," she said, "and it's a beautiful song. I also sing it as a duet with my best friend, Cari Fischer."
"It was a pretty tough competition," Katie said. "The two girls I was competing against both went to regionals and they both play the piano. Both are really fine musicians and it was really hard to choose.
"It's pretty nerve-wracking trying out for singing," she said. "You have to breathe right or you don't sing the line. There's a lot to it -- dynamics, pitch, intonation, expression, posture. You have to be thinking of all these things, plus you have to have emotion. If you have no emotion, it's like a robot. It's not pretty."
Katie started singing with the Melody Company, a children's singing group at the Presbyterian Church she attends.
"From there, I went to the elementary school choir, the middle school choir and then the high school choir," she said. "I've been in choir ever since I was able to speak."
Katie said she plans to use the scholarship money for voice lessons when she attends Northern Arizona University in the fall. Although she may continue singing Christian music or go on to direct church choirs, Katie said she is considering a career in interior design.
Alyssa said she plans to use her scholarship money to pay for voice lessons, which she is already taking, and perhaps piano lessons, as well.
The middle school student said she's been singing since she was in choir in the third grade and recently had a part in the district's presentation of "Annie."
"I was very excited about the win," she said. "I've been singing all my life."
Irvine said the Payson Choral Society has been sponsoring student music scholarships for the past five years through concert proceeds, bake sales, donations and other fund-raisers.
"I'm just grateful to the Choral Society," Katie said. "I think they're a great group. I think it's neat that they do something like this for young, starting-out musicians."
The Payson Choral Society's spring concert performances will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. June 10 at the high school auditorium. The group will perform folk songs and music from the '60s and '70s. Tickets will be available at the door for $6. Children under 12 will be admitted free.