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Empowered voices: WHS choirs perform Monday at Memorial

WORTHINGTON -- As May grows greener and more spring-like, Worthington High School (WHS) choir director Kerry Johnson anticipates a pleasantly seasonal evening for her 130-plus choristers' spring choral concert.

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Worthington High School choir students are shown at rehearsal Thursday as they prepare for Monday evening's concert at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - As May grows greener and more spring-like, Worthington High School (WHS) choir director Kerry Johnson anticipates a pleasantly seasonal evening for her 130-plus  choristers’ spring choral concert.

 

“Spring is a busy time of year for high-schoolers, and so many of the students are in multiple activities,” said Johnson.

 

“But this concert is sure to be a good time, and there will definitely be a few ‘tug-on-the-heart strings’ moments.”

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Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, the WHS spring choir finale features not only the WHS Concert and Trojan Choirs but also the male vocal ensemble (Vox), female ensemble (Bel Canto) and the choir’s Class of 2017 members.

 

Additionally, several student soloists will be heard throughout the evening.

 

Empowering her students through music and its messages is important to Johnson, who allowed her musical charges to participate in selecting many of the numbers.

 

“As a program, we decided to use music to tell a story,” mentioned Johnson. “Each choir chose a theme and we incorporated pieces to help illustrate those themes.”

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Thus, the four selections of Johnson’s 50-voice Trojan Choir all have at their heart the idea of unity.

 

“They wanted to share a message of making a positive impact in the world and celebrating a human life,” noted Johnson.

 

“Seasons of Life,” “I Choose Love,” “If You’re Out There” and Anders Nyberg’s powerful “Freedom is in Your Hand” are slated for the Trojan Choir.

 

The Concert Choir, which numbers 80 students, chose to emphasize a person’s progression from childhood through young adulthood.

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That idea led them to “The Circle of Life,” an arrangement of “Still I Rise” for the girls in the group, “Tell My Father” for the boys, and a final Mark Hayes’ arrangement of “Over the Rainbow” to cap off the Concert Choir segment.

 

With about 30 guys involved, Vox is planning a three-song set: the humorous “Johnny Schmoker,” a Celtic folk tune called “Fergus an’ Molly” that relates a tale of unrequited love and, finally, perennial favorite “For the Longest Time” (composed by Billy Joel).

 

The 30 girls of Bel Canto, meanwhile, are channeling their country style with an arrangement of the Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” Ruth Moody’s “One Voice” (popularized by the Wailin’ Jennys) and the inspirational “The Climb.”

 

Senior awards will be presented during the course of the program, and Johnson’s 28 seniors will present two numbers: “You Raise Me Up” and “Do I Make You Proud.”

 

“We have a lot of really dedicated musicians and great human beings among the senior class,” affirmed Johnson.

 

Even after Monday’s concert, the WHS vocalists won’t be quite done for the year; the seniors will sing a selection as part of their June 2 commencement ceremony, and on May 29 roughly 60 WHS choir members will sing the National Anthem at Target Field immediately prior to the Memorial Day Twins game.

 

“Monday’s concert offers a chance to empower the kids’ voices,” expressed Johnson.


“They’re learning to use music to express who they are and what they think.”

 

The Worthington High School spring choral concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. There is an admission fee, and ISD 518 activity passes will be honored. ISD 518 students may attend free of charge when presenting their student ID cards.

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