For years now, Vinalhaven High School senior Brianna Osgood – who goes by Anna – has made music a priority in her life. She sings, plays piano and even writes music and lyrics. Her hard work and dedication paid off in February when Anna was invited to participate in the Cedarville University Honor Band and Honor Choir Weekend Music Showcase in Cedarville, Ohio.

Anna was one of 150 students accepted for the Music Showcase, out of over 300 applicants. Participants hailed from all over the United States, but Anna was the only student from Maine.

She visited Cedarville University in November 2003 because she was considering applying to Cedarville for college. “When I first learned of Cedarville, I mentioned on an academic list that I was interested in music, and they sent me the [Music Showcase] information through the mail,” she said. Anna’s music teacher, Amy Gardner, nominated her for the Music Showcase.

“I was really surprised and excited,” Osgood said of her acceptance to the Music Showcase. “I knew it was something I would enjoy, so I wanted to do it, but I was also nervous because I would be flying back only three days before my basketball tournament game.”

Before leaving for Cedarville Osgood prepared by practicing the prescribed music with Gardner. “The selection of music was great,” said Gardner. “Five or six pieces arrived in the mail. I worked on them with her and made sure she was prepped. It was standard preparation for that type of musical event.”

The Music Showcase ran Feb. 17-19. “Our days at Cedarville were full of rehearsals and Bible fellowship,” said Osgood. (Cedarville is a Baptist university.) “We would have our meals, and rehearse in between, and any free time we had we would chat with others around us, and really get to know each other. We also had the option to stay in the dorms with actual Cedarville students who were music majors,” she added. “The girl I stayed with was a music major and her roommate was a nursing major, so it was interesting that they both had those things in common with me.”

Osgood applied to several colleges, including Cedarville University and the University of New England, as a nursing major. “The best part,” she said, “was late at night after rehearsals were done and we had free time. They would have different bands and vocal groups from Cedarville that would perform for us, and it was amazing how well they did. I also enjoyed our Showcase concert, and being in a chorus of over 100 people. It was so different than the chorus I’m used to with six other girls.”

The Music Showcase “afforded Anna a great opportunity to sing with a bigger group,” agreed Gardner. In particular, she explained, it was a chance for her to sing with a full range of singers: sopranos, tenors, altos and basses. She is used to singing only with sopranos and altos in the school choir.

According to Anna’s mother, Lisa Osgood, Anna particularly enjoyed learning from a new director, since she has had the same director since she started school. “Every director has a different style,” Lisa Osgood explained. “Amy has them warm up their voices, but this director had them warm up their faces too. The Music Showcase director was very energetic, he was almost dancing!”

Gardner also found benefits in having Anna rehearse with another director. When Anna Osgood returned, Gardner asked about her experience in Cedarville. Osgood described the director’s emphasis on having singers lift their eyebrows, a technique used to make a choir appear more visually pleasing to the audience, and less as if the singers are concentrating on their music. This is something Gardner had already been talking about with her chorus, and she found it “very reinforcing” for her students to hear it from someone else.

As Osgood’s senior year draws to a close, so does her formal music training. “I don’t plan to take any music classes in college,” she said, “but I will always enjoy playing the piano, singing, and hopefully continue to write songs. I also would like to work really hard on piano and maybe someday teach private piano lessons.” She also has a part in the Vinalhaven School spring musical, “The Wizard of Oz.”