WORTHINGTON - When the annual Worthington Middle School choral concert arrives - and the Memorial Auditorium stage is set for performances at 7 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday - it’s a sure bet the students are raring to go.
“Oh, there’s always excitement,” promised Cindy Anderson, director of the sixth- through eighth grade choral ensembles at WMS, which encompass roughly 240 students.
“And it’s been an enjoyable year because I’ve been able to push these choirs,” she continued.
“The sixth-graders are already starting to capably sing in three parts - and, surprisingly, there are a few seventh-grade guys who are singing bass already so that’s made it an interesting year.”
Over the past 30-plus years, Anderson has led thousands of 12- through 14-year-old singers through their paces, and this week’s spring concert marks the continuation of a much-loved local tradition.
That means small ensembles will join full grade-level choirs on stage over two consecutive evenings, and full-house audiences are virtually guaranteed.
“We’re doing a couple of pieces in languages other than English, which is always fun,” mentioned Anderson.
Her sixth-grade choir will sing “A Million Dreams” from the movie “The Greatest Showman” (featuring a boys’ quartet), as well as “Kuwa Furaha.”
“That’s a Swahili song about finding joy in all things,” explained Anderson.
The seventh-graders are poised to present “We’re the Men” and One Republic’s “Lift Me Up,” while the eighth-graders will sing “When You Believe” from “The Prince of Egypt” before sharing three numbers - “Best Day of My Life,” “Humble and Kind” and “My Wish” - during the show-ending, memory-inducing eighth grade slideshow.
Anderson is pumped about the small ensembles’ efforts, which include the sixth-grade girls proclaiming “I Will Survive,” the seventh-grade girls sharing “Girl Power” and the eighth-grade girls commemorating the popular TV show “Friends” with its theme song, “I’ll Be There for You.”
Meanwhile, Anderson’s male ensembles will perform Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” (sixth-grade boys), a ‘50s/’60s medley (seventh-grade boys) and a Queen medley touting “We Will Rock You,” “We are the Champions” and “Another One Bites the Dust” (sung by the eighth-grade boys).
“Those are classics everyone will know well,” laughed Anderson.
Additionally, the 12 select vocalists in the eighth-grade group known as the Festival Singers will present “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” from “Three Contemporary Latin Settings” by Jerry Estes.
“Half of the Festival Singers sang at the Brandon Music Festival in early March,” Anderson explained.
Even though it’s difficult to navigate nearly nine months of weekly 7:15 a.m. rehearsals - made more challenging in 2018-19 due to the inclement winter - Anderson is grateful to parents who provided rides and to the students who put in extra time to make this week’s concert lineup entertaining.
“These students have been very fun to work with,” assured Anderson. “A large percentage of the kids are involved in orchestra and band, too, but they somehow get it done.
“And I’d love to thank the elementary music teachers - Linda Van Westen, Debra Moe and Taylor Huwe - and Jeanette Jenson for initiating that love of music and musical training with these kids, because they have a huge hand in the success of this program.
“I’m just building on what they send my way,” Anderson added.
The WMS spring choir concert takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. There is an admission fee, although ISD 518 activity passes and student IDs will be honored. Tickets are required, and attendees may obtain them in advance of show time by visiting the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, by visiting friendsoftheauditorium.com or by calling the box office at 376-9101.