CCHS sophomore Haglund receives national recognition for vocal talent
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Just about everybody can sing, and more than a few can sing quite well.
Then there are those rare people like Anders Haglund, a sophomore at Charles City High School, who would really like to sing for a living.
“I would love to pursue a career in music,” Haglund said. “I would love to sing opera.”
Haglund’s vocal skills recently allowed him to place in the 2021 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) North Central Regional auditions. This qualified him to advance to the national level of the NATS student auditions in the High School Classical category.
NATS includes teachers from colleges, universities, high schools and private teachers. Haglund placed third in the region, which covers the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
“It’s pretty tight competition, but it’s a great experience,” said Haglund’s voice teacher, Scott Blankenbaker. “If nothing else, he’s getting comments from some of the best teachers out there, from all over the place.”
“The judges comments alone made it worth all the hard work,” Haglund said. “It’s great to get professional feedback from very talented professors.”
Blankenbaker has been teaching Haglund for about a year.
“We’ve been doing a lot of classical singing, getting my technique just right, and a lot of nit-picky stuff,” Haglund said.
Blankenbaker lives in Charles City and has been a music instructor at Riverland Community College in Austin, Minnesota for 21 years. He’s also the director of the Charles City Singers.
“He is a bright kid academically, and he does his research on the music,” Blankenbaker said of Haglund. “He digs into the songs and searches and looks to see how others have performed these songs, as well as the history behind them.”
Haglund entered the competition in two different categories, Musical Theatre and Classical. He had to perform three songs in each category. The performances were video-recorded, and three judges watched and critiqued the performance.
Haglund earned the recognition in the Classical category, and his top performance was an aria from the opera “O Del Mio Dolce Ardor,” by Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Haglund and Blankenbaker will now re-record the same three songs for the national competition, which involves students from all 50 states, plus all Canadian provinces.
Each NATS Region advances the top five singers in each eligible category to the National Preliminary Round. The National Preliminary Round will be conducted via YouTube. Singers must sing the same repertoire at the national level as they sang at the regional level.
Haglund said he has been singing since he was in about 5th grade, and started taking lessons in 8th grade. At CCHS, he is involved in the CCHS drama production and the CCHS musical, in cross country, in jazz band, in the high school vocal music group Rhymes With Orange and performing solo ensemble in vocal music competition, among many other things.
“Charles City is a lovely community and I’m grateful for everything it’s given me,” Haglund said.