The Independence Elementary Choir and eight other vocal or instrumental music groups from the Cherry Creek School District performed at the annual Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) Clinic/Conference, held Jan. 25-28 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. Independence was one of only two elementary schools selected to perform at the prestigious event, which draws music educators from across the state.
“The performance space was packed with music educators, performers, clinicians and families,” said Angela Howard, who has been the Independence choir director for the past four years. “It was an experience these kids will never forget and one that I was honored to be a part of.”
More than 100 students in third through fifth grade are members of the Independence Elementary Choir. They practice once a week for 50 minutes before school starts. Howard says the purpose of the choir is to provide students with a musically and socially enhancing experience that complements their academic journey in school.
“Our choir works hard to create a beautiful sound,” Howard said. “We focus on building a foundation of good singing technique, tone production and stage presence. We also focus on bringing a composer’s intent to our audience and reaching people with the power of music.”
At the CMEA conference, the Independence Elementary Choir performed several pieces from different genres and time periods. The students sang in English, Spanish, German and even Latin. One piece in particular, “O Colored Earth” by Steve Heitzig, struck a chord with the students and audience alike.
“The song speaks of all of the colors of the earth; the plants, animals and people and how all lives are equal and sacred,” Howard explained. “The kids sang of what they can do to end war, hunger and fear.
“We are proud of the diversity in our choir and we were truly connected during that piece. You could see it in the kid’s faces and hear it in their voices. There was hardly a dry eye in the room,” Howard said.
The groups that perform at the CMEA conference must submit an audition recording months in advance. The Independence Elementary Choir recorded its spring concert last May and submitted it to the CMEA General Music Council. They were informed last June that they were one of two elementary school choirs selected to perform at the 2017 CMEA event.
Congratulations to Independence and the other musical groups from the Cherry Creek School District that performed at the CMEA conference:
• Campus Middle School Select Choir under the director of Tegan Palmer
• Cherry Creek High School Girls 21 under the direction of Adam Cave
• Cherry Creek High School Troubadours under the direction of Sarah Harrison
• Cherry Creek High School Wind Ensemble under the direction of Tim Libby
• Grandview High School Jazz Ensemble I under the direction of Keith Farmer
• Grandview High School Supermen Chorus under the direction of Darin Drown
• Grandview High School Women’s Choir under the direction of Lori May
• Prairie Middle School Bella Voce under the direction of Philip Drozda.