The 30 young singers performed three pieces for the fourth and fifth graders: “Et in Terra Pax” arranged by Mary Lynn Lightfoot, “Sansa Kroma” arranged by Michael Scott and “The Composers are all on Facebook,” arranged by Mark Burrows.
Stacey Dean, chorus director, said she was proud of the students for tackling the pieces as well as they did.
“I thought they did a pretty good job considering it’s the end of the first nine weeks and we haven’t had that much time to work,” said Dean.
Their voices wrapped around the complicated harmonies of “Et in Terra Pax,” a song in Latin, setting an ethereal tone. Dean said each song is selected for a specific purpose. “Et in Terra Pax,” she said, allows her to teach the chorus proper breathing techniques and the art of correctly forming their sounds.
Then, the students sang “Sansa Kroma,” an African folk song, with Sarah Ozment and Courtney Smith playing authentic African instruments. Starting in a round, the song worked its way throughout the chorus singers. Clay Joyce, Christopher Morgan and Ernesto Hernandez hyped up the fun when they started dancing, emulating a tribal feel. Other students joined in with their own choreographies, causing the elementary students to stand and cheer.
“We didn’t really put dance moves in there, they made that all up by themselves,” said chorus singer Hannah Arendt.
“The African song is used because that’s part of their standards in seventh grade social studies, to study Africa,” Dean said. “I try to make a connection there between the two subjects.”
Christopher said he liked “Sansa Kroma” the best.
“You get to move around a lot and it’s a little different from what we usually sing,” he said. “We’re learning a little bit about Africa like the culture and the language.”
Finally, the students performed their “fun” song, “The Composers are all on Facebook,” about a group of composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethovan spending all their time on Facebook instead of composing.
“The Facebook song was simply because middle schoolers love Facebook and they’re all about Facebook,” Dean said. “It’s an easier way to teach them about composers than just reading out of a book.”
Madyson Raybon said she enjoyed singing the song.
“‘The Composers are all on Facebook’ was my favorite because it’s really upbeat and in the now,” she said.
Chorus class, while giving the kids a break from the books, is still a worthwhile educational experience.
“We get to sing instead of doing a lot of work and it’s really fun to sing,” Hannah said.
Learning to perform in front of a large audience was not only beneficial to the students, but it also allows them to practice until they get it right.
“It’s kind of fun and kind of scary,” Madyson said. “I think we did pretty good since we did start the second week of school.”