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CCSD Middle School Honor Choir makes musical magic

CCSD Middle School Honor Choir rehearsal“The magic is going to happen!”

That’s what Dr. Clark Roush predicted when he first stepped on stage with 164 of the best seventh- and eighth-grade vocalists from across the Cherry Creek School District. Clark is the Endowed Chair for the Performing Arts, the Music Department Chair, and a professor of music at York University in York, Neb. He was the guest clinician for the annual Cherry Creek Schools Middle School Honor Choir weekend, held Jan. 13-14 at Grandview High School.

The event was started a decade ago to give middle school musicians an opportunity to learn and grow with like-minded students. That’s what attracted Flynn Latta, an eighth grader at Laredo Middle School.

“The people here are amazing,” he said. “They’re all ‘music-heads’ and they just love music and love the atmosphere and we kind of bond over that.”

I’m very passionate about music and just singing in general, so choir has always been a safe space for me,” said Raegen Rozmiarek, an eighth grader at Fox Ridge Middle School. “It’s been a place where I feel welcome, and I feel like I belong.”

That’s why both Rozmiarek and Latta were willing to go through a rigorous audition process in the fall, where they had to perform a prepared piece, demonstrate their sight-reading abilities, and show their competency in pitch, tone, and more. Rozmiarek and Latta, who both made Honor Choir last year too, then joined 160+ other students for a day-and-a half of training with Dr. Roush. They worked on many aspects of vocal technique, as well as some things unrelated to music.

“I’m just so honored to come out and see if by the end of tomorrow we can’t be both better musicians and better humans,” Dr. Roush said. “If I can add my passion and my intensity to that, then maybe I can help them fall in love with choral music just a little more.”

During the hours of rehearsals, the students learned six challenging pieces of music.

“My favorite is called ‘At this Table’ which was co-written by Idina Menzel,” said Tisa Lawrence-Krekel, the vocal music director at Sky Vista Middle School. “The whole concept is that everyone is welcome together. We’re all one, we’re all human. It doesn’t matter what we look like, it doesn’t matter what beliefs we have, it doesn’t matter what experiences we have, it’s just really important that we’re all together.”

Enjoy the CCSD Middle School Honor Choir performing "At this Table."

Neither Rozmiarek nor Latta minded giving up a good portion of a three-day weekend to work on making musical magic.

“It’s worth it to me because I get to meet new people, I get to have new friends,” Latta said.

“It’s more of a reward than anything,” Rozmiarek added. “I don’t see it as a lot of work, I see it as a big product. We’re creating a masterpiece and we’re changing lives with the way we sing.”

CCSD Middle School Honor Choir ConcertThe weekend culminated with the CCSD Middle School Honor Choir Concert, where the magic was unleashed.

“There is something magical about being together and getting to sing together,” Lawrence-Krekel said.

Flynn Latta summed it up this way: “The overall vibe is amazing. I love honor choir,” he said.

Get more information about Performing Arts in the Cherry Creek School District here.

Posted 1/18/2023.