Artist spotlight: Charles Witmer ’22 enters virtual vocal competitions

Whether he is playing his cello before school for the orchestra, rehearsing with the Notables, or attending private singing lessons, Fifth Former Charles Witmer spends a large part of his free time with music, honing his vocal and instrumental skills.

Witmer’s first exposure to music was when he joined a choir after his mom encouraged him to participate.

“I like [singing]. I’ve done it since third grade. If I hadn’t got at least moderately good at it by now, I would feel kind of disappointed,” Witmer joked.

His humble assessment fails to show how good of a singer he is. Last year, Witmer was able to advance all the way through the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) competition from the district level to the All-State chorus, where he had the chance to join the National Chorus. Unfortunately, it was cut short by the pandemic, something that continued to cause difficulties for Witmer in competitions this year.

Fifth Former Charles Witmer

Normally, competitors audition in person, but the pandemic forced singers to record videos and send them to the PMEA organizers, something Witmer disliked.

“I just don’t sound that good online,” Witmer said. “I mean, like, no one really does, but it obviously didn’t help [my chances for success].”

Besides the PMEA competition, Witmer also received an Honorable Mention for Senior Voice at the Tri-County Concerts Youth Festival, an impressive achievement. And despite the effort put in behind the scenes to reach his level, the reason he attends all these competitions is simple.

“I heard about it [from my private teacher] and thought, ‘Hey! Why not try?”

Charles Witmer ’22

“I heard about it [from my private teacher] and thought, ‘Hey! Why not try?” Witmer said.

His willingness to put his skills to the test and showcase his singing abilities comes from his enjoyment of the activity, and it shows his unique approach to music. Witmer’s achievements speak for themselves, and despite his lack of boasting it is clear that he is a major part of Haverford’s performing arts program.