Holden Stach visits Sydney, enjoys friendly atmosphere

By Jeff Smith

Holden Stach, right, with his mother and sister on the private yacht for the High School Honors Performance Series at Sydney Opera House this summer. Part of the trip was for a choir performance and the other part was to see some of Australia. All of it was fun.

Even though Holden Stach went to Australia this past summer he is not done performing yet. Stach recently submitted his audition for the 2019 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.

If he gets accepted into that program he will be in New York Feb. 7-11. Stach will be notified on Oct. 31 if he made it into the program or not.

If he gets accepted he will receive the songs to rehearse.

This past summer he took part in the Honors Performance Series.

He didn’t go alone to Australia. Family joined him for the mid-July trip.

“We had great support of the community for donations so I’m more than thankful for that,” Stach said.

His performance was held at the Sydney Opera House. His group rehearsed at an arts center about a mile from the opera house.

“We only had one run-through at the Sydney Opera House stage before our performance,” Stach said.

He said the Sydney Opera House was very unique for a performing arts center. 

He performed on the largest performing stage in the Sydney Opera House but it wasn’t as big as he thought it would be.

“It was actually a lot smaller than I expected,” Stach said.

He mentioned that it was a very tall building and had impressive architecture.

“The thing that I remember most from the trip is the people I met,” Stach said.

A lot of Americans took part in the program. Some international people were there but it was mostly Americans.

Stach said that most of the other students had interests similar to him and that was really cool.

Stach said the Honors Performance Series is well-organized. When he rehearsed his Australia performance there were many different parts and he was able to listen to a recording of his part as well as others so he knew what it is supposed to sound like.

He was able to listen in as he read the music and sang along.

“It helps out a lot,” Stach said.

There was no particular theme for the performance. Stach said there were multiple languages and genres between all of the songs. 

Stach didn’t know the choral director for the program but found out that he is pretty well known throughout the U.S. Stach also learned that he has composed songs that have been part of what the high school choir does for their performances.

Jaime Kessler, vocal music teacher at Hill City, told Stach that the choir has sung quite a few songs composed by Gilpin.

“We was an awesome director. He made it fun but we still had to work hard,” Stach said.

Stach explained that even though it was winter there when he and his family went it was still pretty nice.

After the program was over he received the chance to visit the marketplace in Melbourne. He also saw all of Sydney on the Sydney Tower.

Those in the program were able to take a celebration cruise on a private yacht.

“It involved the choir, orchestra and band. It was like four levels I believe,” Stach said.

They traversed the Sydney Harbor.

Stach’s great aunt and great uncle live in Australia. They also have children and grandchildren.

“So there’s a pretty good extension of the family out there,” Stach said.

Stach said the people made the experience worthwhile.

“If there hadn’t been the good people then the experience wouldn’t have been as good,” Stach said.

Stach said the trip to Sydney was amazing.

“I met a lot of outstanding people that were very friendly,” Stach said.