I sang in my first Heartland concert in June 2012. From the very first rehearsal, I was awed by the caliber of musicians I was surrounded by and the quality of music I was able to make by being a part of such an ensemble. That first concert was Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem. I fell in love with the piece and I found fulfillment in singing with the professional singers and orchestra.
This first experience inspired me to audition for the Heartland Side-by-Side program in early 2013, when I became a long-term singer. Singing in Heartland transformed my musicianship from high school skills to professional skills, and I was treated like a professional every step of the way. I am now a freshman voice performance major at the University of Toledo as a result of the education I received singing in Heartland and the inspiration I got from regularly interacting with professional musicians.
The most unique aspect of Side-by-Side is that students are paid for singing in the choir. My parents expected me to get a job my senior year in high school, and I was extremely lucky that I found a job that I loved, so it never felt like I was working.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for participating in the Side-by-Side program; my life has been changed through song.
- Meridian Prall, Former Side-by-Side student