A goal since middle school became reality for Hillsboro student Vance Klassen after he was named last week to the 256-member Kansas Music Educators Association’s All-State High School Honor Choir for a third year.
“I saw so many from the high school that had gotten that high honor and I told my mom, ‘Someday, I’m going to get that,’” Vance said. “It’s just that initial reaction of being amazed that they trusted your talent enough to put you in.”
Not only did Vance make it into state choir as a first tenor, he also won a scholarship from KMEA. He hopes to study music theater and performance at either Oklahoma City University or Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.
He also has applied for a stage management internship with Music Theater of Wichita.
“I’m hoping to be a part of their season ‘cause they have such a great season of all my favorites,” he said. “‘Hairspray’ obviously is super fun, and one of my favorites and ‘Newsies’ with the dance elements behind it is such an entertaining show.”
Vance has been performing since elementary school, and became involved in Tabor College performances at a young age.
He was in “Children of Eden,” and played Jem in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Jem is the older brother of Scout, played by Anna Glanzer, who also made it into state choir this year as a second soprano.
“I was always told when I was younger this is something you should do,” Vance said. “It was more of a hobby, and then something kind of clicked when I saw a variety of different shows.”
One show that stuck out was seeing “Wicked,” which he attended in St. Louis with his mother.
“I said, ‘Wow, people will pay you to do what you love? How crazy is it that I could be doing something that’s not necessarily considered a job to me anymore?’” he said. “So it was then when I thought it’d be fun to be on that stage with them, and I don’t see why I can’t be a part of it. I guess that pushed me to finally be involved in other things with music.”
Vance credits his teachers with helping prepare him for his journey in music: choir director Lynn Just and vocal coach Jen Stephenson.
“I think with the combination of people that have invested into me — the return is something much greater that hopefully I can invest into others as well,” he said. “So without that, I don’t think I would be near as involved as what I am.
“Being on the stage is going to have to be something that becomes a part of my life. It’s just something hard to give up and let sit at rest.”
The state choir will perform at 4:45 p.m. Feb. 25 at Century II in Wichita. Tickets cost $7.