Versatile Apollo basketball player has musical, athletic aspirations

Versatile Apollo basketball player has musical, athletic aspirations

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Versatile Apollo basketball player has musical, athletic aspirations

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The sweet melody of notes fluttering and flickering from the viola of St. Cloud Apollo three-sport athlete Mel Gebhardt might be the best indicator that she’s hoping for a college music scholarship rather than a basketball scholarship.

Basketball has been good to Gebhardt, but music is where her heart truly lies. Gebhardt has had an ear for music as long as she can remember.

“Oh, gosh, I’ve always been into music since I was really little,” Gebhardt said. “Ever since kindergarten — I really don’t know where it came from.”

Musical talent has brought Gebhardt the opportunity for a college scholarship. She is a finalist for a scholarship at Concordia-Moorhead, although she won’t find out the results for about a month and doesn’t have anything set in stone at the moment.

Gebhardt has had only minimal private lessons, but her viola and singing talents came naturally to her from the moment she realized her love for music.

“I’ve had a few private lessons, but nothing major. I just really look up to my choir teacher,” Gebhardt said. “I decided to play the viola because it was different.”

If Gebhardt doesn’t get the music scholarship, she has secondary plans and has applied to St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Mankato, North Dakota State and other state colleges.

“Ideally, I wish I could do both, but I’m leaning more towards music than basketball,” said Gebhardt, a senior and one of the court leaders of the 4-14 Eagles. “Playing the viola makes me feel like I can really express myself.”

Gebhardt’s singing abilities has brought opportunities as well. She has been singing the National Anthem at sporting events around the St. Cloud area since she was a sophomore.

The continuous demands of performing in three sports — basketball, volleyball and softball — keeps Gebhardt busy, and furthering her musical development takes time.

If she does get a music scholarship, she is open to also playing basketball during her freshman year in college.

But the reality is that Gebhardt’s chance of doing both basketball and choir in college is slim to none: the two loves of her life happen to coincide with each other in the same season.

“In any college you have to pick one, and I think in the long run (Mel) will be in choir,” Apollo head girls basketball coach Nik Peterson said.

“It takes time to become an athlete and I think she wants a little break, but she’ll surprise me.”

If Gebhardt does get that music scholarship, she’ll probably have the opportunity to play basketball because incoming freshmen don’t get a chance to be part of the upper choir.

And if that’s the case, she’ll succeed because of her hard work and by not taking any plays off during games or practices, according to Peterson.

“I haven’t ruled anything out yet, so we’ll see what happens,” Gebhardt said.

In addition to her athletic and musical accomplishments, Gebhardt also was Apollo’s Homecoming queen last fall.

She is a person who leads by example, on and off her many athletic fields as well as in the music room.

“She’s the type of kid who if you walk down the hall and say Mel Gebhardt, people know exactly who she is,” Peterson said. “She is just well-liked by her teammates and classmates.”

Juggling the massive schedule load that Gebhardt has accrued over the years hasn’t been easy, but in the long run she sees it paying off.

“It’s been really hard and time-consuming,” Gebhardt said, “but I think it will all work out for the best.”

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