WMS choirs in concert Thursday, Friday evenings at Memorial Auditorium

WORTHINGTON -- Non-stop chatter and giggles emanated from the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) stage as more than 20 animated 13- and 14-year-old girls wiggled and prattled prior to a recent dress rehearsal.

An ensemble of sixth-grade male students perform "Working in a Coalmine" during Tuesday night rehearsal in Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. WMS choral students will perform in concert Thursday and Friday. (Ryan McGaughey / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Non-stop chatter and giggles emanated from the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) stage as more than 20 animated 13- and 14-year-old girls wiggled and prattled prior to a recent dress rehearsal.


“Now, ladies,” urged their director, Worthington Middle School (WMS) music teacher and choir director Cindy Anderson.


“Sing as loud as you talked - be loud from the get-go - and give me more face, more attitude, more hip and more lip!”



The eighth-grade girls’ ensemble, which will perform a medley of Taylor Swift tunes, is one of several WMS choral groups set to entertain family, friends and community members at the school’s annual spring choir concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday.


Anderson, who is leading local adolescent singers for a 29th year, assures the preparatory efforts expended by her 250-plus students will make concert attendance worthwhile.


“Hours and hours go into the presentation of this concert, so we hope our audience will enjoy what they’ll see and hear,” said Anderson.


Her sixth-grade singers, all of whom are excited to appear in the legendary concert for the first time, are primed to share the spiritual “Joy in My Heart” as well as “The Journey,” which draws from the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts.”



“The sixth-graders are also singing an interesting Venezuelan folk song, in Spanish, that tells the story of a mother asking her children to help grind corn,” explained Anderson.


“It has some very fun rhythmic clapping sections and is called ‘Canto de Pilon.’”


Moving up the seniority ladder, Anderson’s seventh-graders will sing a version of Stevie Wonder’s classic “Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing,” followed by Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” (complete with choreography), “Why We Sing” and the African-style “Kuimba.”


“Appropriately, ‘Kuimba’ means, ‘come let us sing,’” noted Anderson.



The eighth-grade choristers will share a trio of pieces including “Rhythm of Life,” “Don’t You” and “Humble and Kind.”


As in past years, Anderson’s grade-based small ensembles will perform one number each. Besides the eighth-grade girls’ aforementioned Taylor Swift medley, the seventh-grade boys will sing “Goodnight Sweetheart” while their female counterparts will croon “Hey Brother.”


Sixth-grade ensemble selections are “Working in a Coalmine” for the guys and “Me, Too” for the girls.


In addition, the auditioned Festival Singers, a select group of eighth graders (Nyawal Gach, Juan Guizar, Nedoh Gyi, Kadence Hyvari, Ericka Lo, Rosa Melgoza, Carlos Mesa, Samara Nordby, Alex Quintanilla, Kaylana Rosadakhorn and Liz Spiegelhoff) who participated earlier this spring in the Brandon Festival of Music, will deliver “And This Shall Be Music.”


During extra rehearsals earlier this week, which Anderson says are difficult to coordinate with students’ varied athletic and extracurricular pursuits, the intrepid choir director nevertheless brought all her years of experience and persuasive powers to bear in encouraging her youthful musicians to light up the stage.


“Personality, personality, personality; nobody likes to watch a dud,” she reminded.


“Should your faces be amazing? Should you be loud? Yes!” Anderson cheered.


“The people in the back row want to hear everything, too.”


The Worthington Middle School spring choir concert is at 7 p.m. both Thursday and Friday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, 714 13th St., Worthington. There is an admission fee, and ISD 518 activity passes will be honored. Students presenting ISD 518 ID cards will be admitted free of charge.


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