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Noah Hager, center, a junior at St. Vincent de Paul High School, practiced for a school musical with junior Reese Zoellner, left, and sophomore Jocelyn Weibrecht on Jan. 25. Hager auditioned and was selected to perform with others at Carnegie Hall in New York City in February as part of the Honors Performance Series.
Noah Hager, center, a junior at St. Vincent de Paul High School, practiced for a school musical with junior Reese Zoellner, left, and sophomore Jocelyn Weibrecht on Jan. 25. Hager auditioned and was selected to perform with others at Carnegie Hall in New York City in February as part of the Honors Performance Series.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

St. Vincent de Paul High School student chosen to participate in international choir to perform at Carnegie Hall

St. Vincent de Paul junior Noah Hager to perform at Caregie Hall

On a frigid January morning before school, Noah Hager and about two dozen other students from St. Vincent de Paul High School in Perryville lined up in a classroom for choir rehearsal.

Choir director Jane Schnurbusch grouped the students according to their vocal ranges to practice several lines from Stephanie Mabey’s “Glorious”:

It’s like a symphony just keep listening

And pretty soon you’ll start to figure out your part

Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies

In each one of us, oh, it’s glorious.”

“Can you go up an octave from that?” Schnurbusch asked Noah as he sang a line for her. He’s the only tenor in the school choir, but Noah understands — just as the song goes — that everyone plays their part.

Noah, a junior at St. Vincent de Paul, has filled churches and auditoriums with his voice since he was a youngster. Next month, he will lend his gift for music to a choir of more than 500 high school students from around the world as part of the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The audition-only program includes performances for high schoolers with mixed choir, treble choir, band, string orchestra and full orchestra.

Noah Hager practiced under a red light for a school musical.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
Noah will sing tenor with the High School Honors Concert Choir under the direction of conductor Jeffery L. Ames, director of choral activities and professor of music at Belmont University. Accompanied by his family and Terry Rousseau, director of music ministry for the North Perry County Catholic parishes, Noah will arrive in New York City on Feb. 7 for a week of rehearsals and a tour of the city. The choir’s performance at Carnegie Hall is scheduled for Feb. 10.

In addition to the school choir, Noah has been involved with parish ministry under the tutelage of Rousseau, who assisted Noah with the audition process for the Honors Performance Series. Noah is a cantor at weekend Masses at St. Vincent de Paul Parish and is involved in the high school theater program.

Noah’s love for music — specifically choir and theater — goes back as far as when he was 6 years old and he auditioned with Muny Kids in St. Louis. He didn’t get a part, but that didn’t hold him back from staying involved with music and theater.

One of his earliest memories is from the second grade when he landed a role in “Children of Eden” at St. Vincent de Paul Grade School. “I was the snake and I had to slither all over the ground,” he said with a grin. “I think that really sparked music and theater for me.”

He has been named three times to the Missouri Choral Directors Association’s all-district choir, performed with a trio at the state competition, and performed in choir and theater productions at Southeast Missouri State University.

“Starting the arts at such a young age put me into a thought that I should keep going and continuing my journey through the arts,” Noah said. “Not a lot of boys do choir — it’s very sparse. I think that’s what helps me continue.”

Noah Hager, a junior at St. Vincent de Paul High School, and junior Reese Zoellner practiced for a school musical. Sadie Martin, center, an eighth-grader at St. Vincent de Paul School, watched.
Photo Credits: jac
Rousseau worked with Noah to build a portfolio, which will help him as he continues his journey in music arts. “When he applied, I told him, ‘You know what, it doesn’t really cost you anything to apply, other than an application fee,’” Rousseau recalled. “This is good to get a real audition under your belt, a portfolio made and two or three songs recorded that you can use at any moment’s notice when you get another opportunity. To me, that was fun, because we get to just focus on him and not be selfish about it.”

Noah said performance comes naturally to him, and he doesn’t get too bogged down in anxious thoughts about whether he will get a part. “It’s putting myself out there and knowing even if I didn’t get in, I still did this,” he said. “That’s how it was with (the Carnegie audition). If I didn’t get in, it’s not the end of the world. There’s plenty of other opportunities to come.”

Post graduation, Noah is considering studying musical theater and possibly directing. He has his eye on the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, but the future is full of possibilities.

“Once you step out there and just start singing with the accompaniment (“and the lights and the people,” Rousseau interjected) I feel the adrenaline is rushing most of the time,” Noah said. “It’s nice to know that I did this, when there are people who don’t want to put themselves out there and sing.”

From a faith perspective, Noah considers it a gift from God that he can share his musical talent with others. “When I’m singing at Mass, it’s not a performance,” he said. “I sing for the Lord, and I don’t sing for a performance. If I was on a stage it would be different.”

Citing a former high school theater director, Noah said his approach is to just do his best. “Mr. Hoeh said, it doesn’t matter if there’s 400 people or 100 people in the audience. The best thing you can do is to perform and do your best and just believe that you’ve done good.”

From the Archive Module

St Vincent de Paul High School student chosen to participate in international choir to perform at Carnegie Hall 9334

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