Cramer expanding her range in vocal music work

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Tucked away in the choir room at Canton-Galva High School, a young soprano sings with a surprising vocal range.

“I have an extremely wide range,” said sophomore Chelsi Cramer. “The majority of the time, I sing first soprano. However, on one of the choir songs, I sing alto.”

Cramer began her musical career singing alto in the choir programs at the elementary and middle-school levels.

At the beginning of this school year, vocal instructor Bill Olson asked Cramer to sing up the scale during choir tryouts and placed her in the soprano section.

Cramer was in for more surprises when she garnered the lead role of Mary Collins in the November school production of “Give My Regard to Broadway.”

As a result of her stage experience, she discovered her range had actually increased.

“The beginning of the school year, I could hit maybe an E,” Cramer said. “Once the musical was over, I could hit a high B flat.”

Cramer was born in Wichita but moved to Lehigh and attended kindergarten through seventh grade in Hillsboro. She moved to Canton the summer before eighth grade.

Members of the Canton-Galva choir number about 17, and there are seven sopranos in the group.

A cheerleader in the athletic arena, Cramer is equally enthusiastic about choir participation.

“It’s just so much fun,” she said. “A lot of the songs we sing really reflect another side of me-more the peaceful, calm, soothing side of me. And I can see any side of me come out-maybe it’s a fun or crazy side, too.”

This was her first year to enter the competitive arena at the Heart of America league last weekend, where she received a “II.”

Her other school activities include co-captain of the cheerleading squad, vice president of Students Against Destructive Decisions, member of Future Business Leaders of America, editor of the yearbook and class treasurer.

“Chelsi is a leader in class,” Olson said. “She has a sweet voice, and she sets a good example for other students.”

In addition to encouraging others to sing, the young soprano also stresses that enrolling in music is a serious commitment to the entire group.

“I show by example,” she said. “And every once and a while, I’ll get on to somebody because of their actions and how rude they’re being. I explain to them, ‘You have to sing and be involved. It’s not a social hour.'”

She has two more years of high school left, but after graduation, Cramer plans to continue to develop her theatrical and vocal talents.

“I love acting and singing,” she said. “When you combine those two, you have two of my loves right there all in a package.”

And among her talents, Cramer can also list dancing-she choreographed the school musical.

In mid March, she auditioned for summer musical theater in Lindsborg and anxiously awaits news she can be in a summer production there, she said.

And are the neon lights of Broadway or the glamorous lure of Hollywood on her horizon?

“I would definitely go the distance professionally,” Cramer said.

But for now, she is involved in advocating a positive future for the music department at her high school.

“I just hope that the music program here at Canton-Galva will continue to grow stronger and stronger each year,” she said.

“And maybe one of these days, we will have one of the best musical groups in the state.”

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