Freshman standout Rziha follows in family footsteps

Whether in music or in life, Centre freshman Julie Rziha understands the importance of knowing where she’s going.

This sense of direction is something the soprano has learned to value early in her schooling, in part from the counsel of those who judged her vocal solo at the recent regional contests, she said.

“In singing, the one thing the judges wrote on my paper a lot was (that) you have to know where it’s going,” Rziha said. “You can’t just sing for the moment, you have to know where the song’s going.

“I think that’s the same in life,” she added. “You have to have some sort of a plan–it can change, but you have to have a plan.”

Rziha’s “I” rating from those judges has her going to state contest Saturday for her vocal solo.

It’s an unusual achievement for a freshman, Rziha said, one that sets the bar high if she plans to keep moving forward musically in the years to come.

The standard has been set for years already, however, by a big family with big musical talent, Rhiza said, including seven older siblings who have graduated from Centre High School.

“Most of my family sings,” Rziha said. “Music’s pretty important to us.”

Rziha has been following in the family footsteps for years already, singing in Centre choirs every year since kindergarten-except for last year, she said, when she had scheduling conflicts between choir and a required computer course.

She has yet to take private vocal lessons, but at some point would like to “very much,” she said.

In the meantime, Rziha takes opportunities outside class to practice singing.

“I like the free time when I can try out new songs with (accompanist) Mrs. Remy,” she said. “She’ll practice them, and I’ll find the melody and sing to them with her.

“I just like to sing,” she added.

But Rziha likes to do a lot more than that, and the roll call of her extracurricular activities at Centre shows it.

If she’s not hitting the high notes in choir or playing saxophone in the band, you might find Rziha ringing the buzzer in Scholars Bowl, giving a speech in forensics or judging dairy cattle with FFA.

“I like dairy cattle judging,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a random thing.”

Rziha values her participation in FFA because she gets to work with animals, she said.

“That is why FFA is so important to me, because I like that kind of stuff,” she said. “And plants–I like gardening a lot.”

Rziha rounds off her list of activities with some theater experience, she said.

“I participated in the one play we gave this year, ‘The Phantom Strikes Again,”’ she said. “I played the most annoying lady possible.”

Rziha also has varying roles in Friday’s variety show, she said, enough that she’ll need to be careful not to strain her voice for state contest on Saturday.

As far as her future, Rziha listed math and music as her preferred areas of study but is not ready to choose one subject or activity over all the others just yet.

“I like everything I’m involved in,” she said. “I enjoy most anything.”

But that doesn’t mean Rziha is without any sense of direction.

“I have morals and principles,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do in college, but I still have things I know I’m not going to do. I have a vague shape that I want to follow.”

According to choir director Kenny Roe, Rziha handles well both successes and suggestions for improvement.

“She is one who takes criticism very well, always wanting to better herself in the choir,” Roe said. “She takes triumph in stride and is just a great person to have in class.”

Roe said he has mixed feelings about Rziha’s recent accomplishment at regional contests.

“I almost wish that she didn’t get the ‘I,’ simply because then she’d have more to go for,” he said.

Still, Roe recognizes Rziha’s potential for continued growth and achievement in singing.

“She set a mark of excellence for herself at the regionals, and I’d like to see her continue that throughout her four years of school.”

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