Braden Weitzel (in yellow, dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants) and Chris Truong (bottom, with SpongeBob pinata)

Braden Weitzel (in yellow, dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants) with Chris Truong (bottom, with SpongeBob pinata), Emily Hughes (bottom row center), and other Longhorn Singers

Lake Highlands High School 2016 graduate Braden Weitzel has traded in his red and black Espree garb to become the newest addition to the Longhorn Singers, the popular vocal performing group at the University of Texas.

“I’m very flattered, to say the least,” said Braden, who auditioned a week ago and fit his callbacks in between first-day-of-school classes.

“The night after callbacks I received a call from my friend, Chris Truong [LHHS 2014 grad], treasurer of the group, telling me that I had made it. I am ecstatic to get right into singing again – performing, rehearsing…the whole nine yards.” Emily Hughes, LHHS 2015 grad, is also a member of Longhorn Singers.

I asked if Braden was nervous.

“Well, the first rehearsal was the day after callbacks,” laughed Braden, “so there wasn’t much time to be nervous. Even if there was, the group is so welcoming that I doubt I would be apprehensive at all.”

Braden said LH left him infinitely ready for the challenge.

“The guidance of my choir directors, Kari Gilbertson and Jared Wade prepared me for this experience,” said Braden. “I’d had Ms. G as a teacher since Forest Meadow Junior High for six years and Mr. Wade for just one, but he still showed me in a lot of ways that I was capable of more than what I was doing at the time. Both of them taught me the basis for hard work and determination – that if you put your time into something with a careful hand, then you’ll be set wherever life takes you. That lesson, I’m sure, aided me in Longhorn Singer auditions, but even more so in the overall application and adjustment to UT and college life as a whole.”

You can view the Longhorn Singer schedule on their website here, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.