Anna Kasemir, an 8th grader at St. Mary’s School in Oak Ridge, recently participated in the American Choral Directors Association 2017 National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir. Over 4,400 singers auditioned to participate in the three conference honor choirs. Of the 298 singers selected to sing in the JH/MS choir, Anna was the only singer from the state of Tennessee. The ACDA National Conference was hosted at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 8th – 11th. The event involved over 5,000 attendees in which all fifty states were represented, as well as, thirty foreign countries. The JH/MS Honor Choir performed in two concerts on Saturday, March 11th.
Lynnel Joy Jenkins directed the ACDA 2017 JH/MS honor choir. Ms. Jenkins is the Artistic Director of the Princeton Girlchoir and choral teacher at the Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District in Pennington, New Jersey. Ms. Jenkins’ varied conducting and teaching experience ranges from the elementary to collegiate level. She has served as Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Conductor of the Resident Training Choir at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey. The choir’s concert selections represented a variety of musical styles, cultures, and languages. Selection titles included:
- Viva la Musica! Composed by David Brunner
- Sing with the Lark Composed by Laura Farnell
- Chindia Composed by Alexandry Pascanu
- Peace Flows into Me Composed by Jake Runestad
- Three South African Songs Arranged by Steven Fisher
- Jubilate Deo Composed by Peter Anglea
- A Life of Song Composed by Ryan Brechmacher
- Shenandoah Arranged by Rollo Dilworth
Two of the composers attended the conference and met with the honor choir during rehearsals. In addition to providing feedback in the rehearsals, David Brunner and Jake Runestad both participated in Question and Answer Sessions with the singers and signed each singer’s sheet music.
After wonderful week of rehearsals and concerts, Anna and her music teacher, Mrs. Carol Villaverde, celebrated by visiting a unique downtown Minneapolis landmark, The Schmitt Music Wall. It is a five-story mural on the side of a building near 10th and Marquette featuring over-sized musical notes. The music is from a piano piece written by French composer Maurice Ravel called “Gaspard de la Nuit.” The section depicted on the building comes from the third movement, called “Scarbo.” Many musicians say it is arguably the most difficult piece to play for a solo pianist. What an amazing way to end a wonderful week of music making!