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Choral groups excel in San Diego

“Make music” ? this remained campus choir director Aaron Bryan’s goal for his students as the concert choir and ensemble members performed in the Heritage Music Festival in San Diego, March 19-22. The choral groups’ performances awarded their talent as they achieved the highest score and every trophy possible in the choral music category.

The groups received a total of five awards including the Adjudicators Award, which is only given to a choir that earns a score of 95 or higher from two of the three judges. However, Bryan said a single comment from one of the judges outweighed the other recognitions.

“I received a comment from one of the adjudicators that said she felt we achieved the highest level of musical art form because of the connection she felt between us [choral groups] and the audience,” Bryan said. “She said she was deeply moved.

“To me, this was more important than the awards because it showed that we had made music. To make music means to form a connection with the audience, which we did through the help of the Holy Spirit.”

Because no other schools entered in the small-school division, the choral groups competed against 10 schools in the medium- to large-school division.

Despite the difference in size, campus choirs excelled through their performance of The Sounds of a Nation. Each group harmonized three songs representing American choral music.

Senior Luke DeGroot, a concert choir and ensemble member, favored their delivery of a biblical song from the text of 2 Samuel 23:3-4.

“My favorite song was ‘The Last Words of David’ because it was taken from the Bible and was such a powerful song,” DeGroot said. “At this festival, we definitely ‘made music’ like Mr. Bryan wanted us to.”

After months of practice and preparation, Bryan eased any nerves his students might have by creating an atmosphere of relaxation. Before they took the stage, the choral members participated in prayer, laughter and sang silly songs.

Although most members were ready for their performance, concert choir member Hannah Palmer, ’12, was nervous for the result afterward.

“I thought we did really good, but I was surprised we got so many awards because we are such a small school,” Palmer said. “We were competing with schools that were more than twice our size, so I expected to get third place. It definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Veteran choral member DeGroot feels the choir’s lack of procrastination attributed to the group’s improvement and created a highlight for his final year in campus ensemble and concert choir.

“In choir, we have improved each year, making this year the best we have ever done,” DeGroot said. “We put in a lot of practice and preparation so that we wouldn’t be worried the night of our performance. It was very exciting when we won the awards because I got to accept one in front of everybody while our school was cheering. All the hard work defifinitely paid off at that point.”

While most choral members believe their work earned them the awards, Bryan also recognizes the students’ passion for singing with God as the focal point. Throughout the trip, he felt they reflected Christ in each action.

“They were focused, prepared and unified in the purpose to make music that would glorify God,” Bryan said. “Everywhere they went, they represented Christ. People could see the difference in them from other students through their love and care for each other.”

The performance represented a chance for the choral groups to perform to the best of their abililty, as well as gaining constructive criticism from judges. Palmer recognizes the beneficial and memorable aspect of the Heritage Music Festival.

“The competition gave us a chance to represent our Christian school by using the talents God gave us,” Palmer said. “It was the best competition we have done. It was also the first time concert choir got so many trophies, and we definitely won’t forget the experience.”

For more information on campus choral groups, visit the Dec. 12 article, Christmas concert captures season’s essence or e-mail Aaron Bryan.

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    Maddie YeeMay 17, 2010 at 6:59 am

    It was so cool to see the girls’ basketball team come together and raise money for breast cancer. I loved their enthusiasm while selling the pink bracelets! (Danielle and Allie…)

    I pray that the money will impact other’s lives, and that the basketball team was an encouragement not only to our school, but to their opponents.

    Reply