Singing in public and being in honors choirs were nothing new for Lima Senior High School junior Jase Hickman. Still, he never imagined what he experienced recently singing with the National Honors Choir in Salt Lake City.
“It was so much more intense than anything I have ever experienced before,” he said.
Jase sent in his audition tape (it took 20 tries before he was satisfied) into the choir late last fall. A few months later he learned he was in, one of 345 from around the country and two in Ohio to make it. About 3,000 auditioned.
“When I audition for anything, I don’t expect anything to happen. I just hope for the best,” he said.
Just because Jase made it to Utah, it didn’t mean he would make it to the final performances. He recalls people standing “in his face” during the first rehearsal and hearing that if anyone wasn’t good enough, they would have to sit out the concert.
“It was a motivator, that’s for sure,” he said.
The choir performed in places like the Mormon Tabernacle and Abravanel Hall and in front of huge crowds. The hall seats nearly 3,000.
“It was such a great experience,” he said. “I wish everyone could have the kind of experience I had while there.”
Jase, the grandson of Wally and Peggy Kincaid, has been singing for as long as he can remember, but really took an interest when Lima Senior teacher Steve Popa visited Liberty Arts Magnet when Jase was an eighth grader.
“I became motivated to sing better when he came in,” he said. “We all looked up to the Masterworks Choir kids and wanted to be one of them. That was a real motivator.”
Jase is in Lima Senior’s Scarlet and Grey Show Choir, Spartanaires, Masterworks Choir and Spartones. He is also in Art IV, Dram Club and DECA. He is also brushing up on his piano skills (he is self-taught), and works at Little Caesars Pizza.
Jase believes that if it had not been for Lima City Schools, he would not have had these kinds of opportunities. He talks about artist in residency programs at Liberty and other experiences he’s had in school.
“These are things you never forget,” he said. “You don’t get those kinds of experiences anywhere else. The Lima City Schools gives every student the opportunity to bring out their talents.”
Jase wants to major in music therapy in college, saying he never wants to put music aside and wants to help people. He said he will always incorporate music into his life.
Jase credits much of his success now and his bright future to his teachers, especially those in art and music.
They are not just there to teach me music,” he said. “These teachers treat me like they are my parents in a little way. We are like family.”