From AAPSNews Service
Forty-four Ann Arbor secondary students have qualified to participate in the Michigan Student Vocal Music Association Junior High/Middle School State Honors Choir and will perform on Jan. 23 at the DeVos Center in Grand Rapids as part of the three-day Michigan Music Conference.
According to Cherry Westerman, choir teacher at Slauson Middle School, this is the largest group from Ann Arbor in 25 years to participate in this state honor.
“It’s a big deal,” said Westerman. “This is just ecstatically wonderful and bigger than usual. A lot of this is because we have a really strong music program here. It’s exciting for our kids.”
In addition to those earning state honors, 60 singers – including the 44 who qualified for state-level honors choir – participated in the MSVMA Regional Honors Choir, where they auditioned for the state-level choir. This also was the largest number of singers from Ann Arbor to participate in many years, Westerman said.
The MSVMA sponsors an honors choir program at both the middle school/junior high and high school levels. Students in the JH/MS honors choirs sing in combination ensembles of soprano, alto, tenor and bass with just one on a part for the audition.
Westerman said student singers learn a lot by participating in both regional- and state-level honors choirs. They are humbled by others who are better, they find out “they also know quite a lot and can be leaders,” she said. They also learn to work with other students and other music directors with different approaches and they get to perform high-quality musical selections in a professional venue.
“They are singing for a number of other music teachers – a critical audience,” she added.
Each individual school and school district selects their students for the honors choirs in different ways, Westerman explained. Some schools send out invitations and try to team up their students, some test students on their musical knowledge. All students must be able to clear their schedule to participate in rehearsals and be able to pay the fees to participate, although most schools host fundraisers to help pay for students who cannot afford it.
According to information from the district, students scheduled to participate in the Jan. 23 MSVMA JH/MS State Honors Choir performance include:
Clague Middle School: Noha Beleh, Emily Dodge and Maddi Shrinivasin.
Forsythe Middle School: Heather Duval, Abbey Johnson, Olivia Lamson, Olivia Merritt, Sorbie Richner and Jamie Seely.
Pioneer High School: Iman Aslani, Tre Brown, Kelsey Detering William Kryska III, Caitlin Mangan, Jenny Nathans, Maddie Polovick, Eli Rhodenhiser, Rebecca Shipan, Mark Strader, Karina Stribley and Lukas Trierweiler.
Scarlett Middle School: Javairia Johnson and Prestine Spratt.
Slauson Middle School: Joe Babenec, Adriana Ellis, Cedric Gin, Josh King, Livia Luan, Maks Muno, Jake Norton, Chelsea Racelis, Maris Reid, Elise Reichard, Parker Sanford, Michelle Trent, Daniel Wu and Kenny Xue.
Skyline High School: Tasfia Bari, Alex Fuchs, Hannah Lehker, Yan Theros, Mitch Tolly, Sina Webster and Rachel Xydis.
In addition to the JH/MS honors choir students, Ann Arbor will be represented at the conference by the Huron High School Bel Canto, a selected women’s choir directed by Bonnie Kidd; Ken Westerman, Pioneer High School choir director who will present a session to other state music teachers; and other students from middle and high schools who were selected for the State Honors Middle School Band and Orchestra; and the State High Schools Honors Choirs.