Six St. Mary’s School students – Emily Corbett, Victoria Corbett, Ilse Dale, Sophie Sherlock, Maggie Trent, and Bethany Walsh – were selected to participate in the 2017 Tennessee Treble Honor Choir. The Tennessee Treble Honor Choir is an auditioned choir made up of 130 –150 of the best 5th and 6th grade students from schools throughout the state of Tennessee.
Each student submitted a solo audition recording of her or him singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in the keys of F and A Flat. A committee of music educators from across the state adjudicates the auditions listening for pitch accuracy, tone quality, diction, ability to use chest and head registers, and phrasing. The Treble Choir performed at the Tennessee Music Education Association Professional Development Conference held April 5th – 8th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.
This talented group of young singers sang in multiple languages and were exposed to a variety of musical instruments. Repertoire at this year’s concert included: Laughing and Singing, a Traditional Round, I Never Ate a Cloud by B. Wayne Bisbee, Pie Jesu arranged by Mary Lynn Lightfoot, On the Back of an Eagle by Nancy Telfer, La Violette and Salangadu from “Acadian Folk Songs” arranged by Susan Brumfield, and Dixieland Sound, arranged by Don Besig and Nancy Price.
The Latin piece Pie Jesu was written in memory of the children who perished in the April 1995, Oklahoma City bombing. During the Acadian Folk Songs, the choir sang in French, and members of the ensemble were given the opportunity to accompany the group on Orff xylophones, tree chimes, hand drums, triangles, and other percussion instruments. During the final song Dixieland Sound, the choir was accompanied by a Dixieland jazz ensemble including a trumpet, trombone, soprano saxophone, and drum set.
When the students were asked to share something special about their participation in the honor choir, Bethany commented, “I liked that there was a funky rhythm in the last song.”
Maggie added, “I liked the conductor because she was funny and interacted a lot with all of the kids.”
Emily shared, “I enjoyed listening to all the different groups when we were combined together in harmony.”
The experience was certainly memorable for everyone that participated in this year’s Tennessee Treble Honor Choir. The singers sang under the direction of Debbie Burton and Margaret Orem. Debbie Burton is a classroom music teacher at Jerebek Elementary School and Crown Point Junior Music Academy, and is an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University teaching Music for Elementary School Teachers. She is a local and national Orff and Kodaly presenter. Margaret Orem is a classroom music teacher at Jerabek Elementary School and conducts a school volunteer choir. She also conducts the Preparatory Choir for the San Diego Children’s Choir.