WHS, WMS choirs ‘fall’ into first concert

WORTHINGTON -- A blend of contemporary and traditional music awaits attendees at ISD 518's first choral concert of the 2018-19 school year, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Worthington High School gymnasium.

A portion of the WHS Varsity Choir is seen rehearsing earlier this week for their Monday evening concert. In all, roughly 350 ISD 518 choral students from WHS and WMS will perform at the 7 p.m. concert, hosted in the WHS gymnasium. (Jane Turpin Moore / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - A blend of contemporary and traditional music awaits attendees at ISD 518’s first choral concert of the 2018-19 school year, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Worthington High School gymnasium.


With approximately 350 vocalists from grades six through 12 under their direction, music teachers Kerry Johnson of WHS and Cindy Anderson of Worthington Middle School are eager to hear their students share a message in song.


“Each choir is singing a piece about what people as individuals, and what we as a society, can do to bring about positive change in our world,” said Anderson.



For example, Anderson’s sixth-graders will sing a tune entitled “Living What I Believe,” while her eighth-graders will share “How Can I Keep From Singing.” The latter number features a vocal septet.


“My seventh-graders are singing ‘Music Changes the World,’ and the proceeds from the purchase of that piece support musical opportunity for youths in the United States and throughout the world who do not readily have the chance to experience music,” said Anderson.


An organization - the Foundation for Small Voices - created the “Music Changes the World” project, Anderson explained.


“It evolved as a response to so many music programs being cut, in part or full, as a call for choirs across the international choral community to lift up those with little or no access to music,” said Anderson.



“Our choir is working to pledge $100 for this cause so we can help out our global choral community.”


For Johnson’s senior high singers, Monday evening’s concert is simply the start of a busy and fruitful few months, musically speaking.


The 63 vocalists of the WHS Concert Choir will attend the Big South Choral Festival in St. James on Nov. 5, and on Nov. 16 they will participate in a prestigious, invitation-only performance at the fall conference of the Minnesota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association in the Twin Cities.


Additionally, a few dozen students are preparing two performances of an entertaining holiday madrigal dinner on Dec. 3.



“This is the first for us in a series of concerts leading up to the ACDA performance in November, and we’re excited to get things off the ground,” affirmed Johnson.


The WHS Varsity Choir - a non-auditioned ensemble of about 50 singers - will perform three numbers in Monday’s concert, including “Give Us Hope” by Jim Papoulis, “Antiphonal Cantate” by Greg Gilpin and an arrangement of an African folk song entitled “Tutakwenda.”


“My Varsity Choir singers are beginning to develop their sound and are making positive strides,” assured Johnson.


The WHS Concert Choir, meanwhile, will share the rhythmic “In Meeting We Are Blessed” by Troy Robertson, the Gospel tune “City Called Heaven,” the popular “This is Me” from the 2017 movie “The Greatest Showman” and “On Compassion” by Stephanie K. Andrews.


“The lyrics in ‘On Compassion’ were written by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,” noted Johnson.


“Text-wise, our music for this concert focuses on the things that all people need to survive and thrive in this world, and emphasizes the commonalities we have as humans.


“The ‘On Compassion’ text - ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion…love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries’ - reminds us that we are more alike than different.”


Several student soloists will be heard in the WHS Varsity and Concert Choir numbers.


“Both choirs have been amazing to work with this year,” said Johnson. “I’m always overwhelmed by the talent our kids have, and by the work and dedication they bring to everything they do.


“I think the audience will be able to see and appreciate that, too.”

The fall concert of the WHS and WMS choirs takes place at 7 p.m. Monday at the WHS gymnasium, 1211 Clary St., Worthington. There is an admission fee; ISD 518 student IDs and activity passes will also be accepted.

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