Holden Stach to prepare for program of a lifetime

By Jeff Smith

Holden Stach, sophomore at Hill City High School, after choir class on March 5.

At an early age Holden Stach liked music and singing. His love for it developed more as time went on and now as a sophomore in high school it has become a large part of who he is. Last year he was selected for the the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House.

This is reserved for the highest-rated high school performers from across the world.

Stach found out about the program and created a recorded audition last September. For his audition he recorded a song from an Italian songbook. He had about three weeks to prepare his recording. He and his teacher Jaime Kessler did as much as they could in the timeframe that they had.

He found out that he was selected for the Honors Performance Series on Halloween last year.

“It was amazing because I had confidence in myself but there are just so many people in the world that are very talented and can sing very well,” Stach said.

He was happy when he knew that he was selected.

The music for the performance will be sent in April. He will be preparing for the performance until he leaves in July.

“I will be working with Ms. Kessler and probably by myself a little bit at the house,” Stach said.

Hill City High School choir director Jaime Kessler said that she is super happy for him and he is very deserving of this honor.

The repertoire has been received but the musical arrangement hasn’t been received yet. The majority of the music is written by the director of the choir, Gregg Gilpin.

One of the songs  performed at a Hill City concert last year was created by him.

Stach had the option to apply for a high school Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall or Sydney Opera House.

“Between the two options I kind of wanted to go big and go to another country,” Stach said.

He said there is some good family history there too with Australia and he has some relatives to stay with there.

The day that he will be performing at the Sydney Opera House is also his great grandma’s 100th birthday.

This year and last year Stach performed in the All-State chorus. He hopes he can be in the All-state chorus again for the next two years. He was invited to audition for the Honors Performance Series through being chosen for the All-State Chorus.

Two-hundred and fifty people will be performing at the Sydney Opera House in July. Stach will be performing a bass vocal part with the honors chorus. The performers are coming from 43 states,  the District of Columbia, Guam, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Qatar, and South Korea.

Stach has performed at Open Stage before too. Currently, he does the sound mixing for the event.

Last summer he also helped with the sound at Movies in the Loft.

Stach said music helps him deal with stress. He has had an interest in making music for a long time which grew out of listening to music that he liked. He wants to do something in his life that is going to be fun for him. He doesn’t want to do something that he is going to dread later on and is not going to use in the future.

His plans are to either perform or produce music in a professional way after he graduates. In addition to singing, Stach can also play piano and percussion.

Stach also has an interest in videography.

“I’m always interested in cool videos, I guess,” Stach said.

He is hoping to incorporate that with his music going forward, but his main focus is music.

He will be departing for Sydney on July 16. The program lasts six days and his family will be staying in Australia for up to a week after that.

Stach said there will be a lot of time to go and see Sydney in addition to rehearsing.

“I’m going to have quite a bit of fun there visiting and not just practice all the time,” Stach said.“It’s their winter but it will be fun and it won’t be as busy.”

In his package for the trip is the celebration cruise, multiple tours and a hotel room. The only thing that he still needs to pay for is the flights.

His mom and sister are going on the trip, too, through a family package the Honors Performance Series has. For three people the cost is between $3,600-$3,800.

A Gofundme page has raised about $840. Through other donations, Stach said around $4,500 has been raised.

Donations are appreciated as they still need to book their flights. Stach’s grandparents and older sister can also go if enough funds are raised.

He said donations are still appreciated as flights to Australia can cost around $1,400 since it is so far away.

“I’m thanking a lot of people and will be sending out thank yous shortly because there have been a lot of donations,” Stach said.

Stach said fundraising is a little bit stressful but it is still fun.

People who wish to help Stach can send a donation to Holden Stach, 120 Matkins Court, Hill City, SD 57745 or donate on the Gofundme page “Holden Stach downunder.”