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St. Edmond students sing National Anthem at state

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: St. Edmond senior Hallie Ehn sings the National Anthem at the state wrestling meet in Des Moines on Saturday.

DES MOINES — Ella Vratny and Hallie Ehn have experienced big moments as musicians, but when they performed in the center of Wells Fargo Arena, it quickly became the highlight of their careers.

Vratny and Ehn, both seniors at St. Edmond, were two of 27 students to audition for singing the National Anthem during the state wrestling tournament. Both were selected.

“It was an awesome experience. Singing the National Anthem at state wrestling was probably the last big honor I will have as a high school musician,” Vratny said. “I was so grateful for the opportunity.”

Vratny — a St. Edmond softball pitcher — was first on the stage, singing during a session on Friday in front of thousands of wrestling fans.

Both Vratny and Ehn have sung the National Anthem for crowds at St. Edmond basketball games, but singing on a stage like this was an entirely different experience.

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: St. Edmond senior Ella Vratny sings the National Anthem at state wrestling in Des Moines on Friday.

“It was such an honor to be able to sing in the Wells Fargo Arena at a state event,” Vratny said. “It was kind of surreal, and has been something I have dreamed about doing for a long time.”

Ehn delivered her performance before Saturday’s medal round.

“Singing the National Anthem at Wells Fargo Arena was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” Ehn said. ” I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. It was quite nerve wracking seeing all the people, but it was definitely a one-in-a-million experience.”

Vratny spent a lot of time getting ready for her assigned session.

“I prepared for this event by not only practicing in my free time, but singing the anthem at St. Edmond basketball games,” Vratny said. “I was very nervous leading up to the day I had to sing, but I wasn’t really nervous at all when I was singing the National Anthem.

“I think that might have not only been my biggest crowd for a solo, but my most confident.”

According to St. Edmond vocal director Ben Wegner, both Vratny and Ehn had auditions, along with an ensemble from St. Edmond.

“IHSAA put out a call for recordings from high school students,” Wegner said. “Students practiced on their own and then I emailed their recordings to the executive director (Alan Greiner) of the IHSMA (Iowa High School Music Association).

“He chose the best recordings from those submissions.”

Ehn embraced the moment, both for trying out and on the big day itself.

“In order to be picked, we had to send in a recording singing the National Anthem,” Ehn said. “Luckily, I was (chosen).

“I had lots of help from my wonderful choir teacher, Mr. Wegner. I will never forget this day.”

An ensemble from St. Edmond has also been chosen to sing at the boys state basketball tournament on March 12. Vratny and Ehn will be a part of that group, along with Kacey Kruthoff, Maggie Strickland, Maggie Lennon and Sydney Engels.

“It means a lot to be able to sing with my friends one last time (next month at boys state),” said Kruthoff, also a senior at St. Edmond. “It’s such a big honor, and I’m glad that we all get to show how hard we’ve worked these last four years.”

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