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ACSI festival expands choirs' experiences

The Celebration Choir and Adoration Ensemble participated in an overnight festival which, unlike most, combined with other schools involved in Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) to sing in the ACSI Musicale, form a new massive choir of 764.

When the choir and ensemble combine, they are a total of 52, so the choral students were given the opportunity to sing in a completely different enviroment.

Senior Jonathan Passmore feels that, despite the change in atmosphere, the festival was a positive experience.

“It was kind of cool to get to know different singers and schools and it was fun to see that they are not all that different than us, and to sing with new people,” Passmore said. “This one [ACSI festival] was cool because we got to personally know the other choirs. There was more connection even though we were singing as one big choir.”

Music Director Michael Ogdon believes that the size of the mass choir will be memorable for the students.

“I think this type of experience will certainly be remembered by each participant,” Ogdon said. “There is a power to large group participation that cannot be understood without actually being a part of one. The sheer volume of that many voices is intense!”

Junior Robbie Hill enjoyed the singing portion of the event most during ACSI. For him, the highlight was the diversity of Azusa Pacific University Choral Director Harold Clawson’s and Hillside Christian Schools Choral Director Gailen Clark’s musicalities.

“They [the choral directors] used a lot of different styles of teaching music like I’m used to,” Hill said. “Also, it was fun challenging myself because there were a lot of good singers there and I wanted to show that I could sing just as good.”

Although many participants have high regards for the festival, some found faults. For Aliciana Quintana, ’14, the experience, though well-presented, was often mundane.

“Overall ACSI was organized much differently than all of the other festivals we attend,” Quintana said. “I liked how it was easier to learn the parts because I could learn from the people around me, but the adjudications were very long and became boring after the third one.”

Though the focus of the trip was to sing in a large choir, Ogdon prepared other activities for his group, exclusively.

“Group activities are intentionally planned to put people together in social settings against their will that will bring about results beyond their belief,” Ogdon said. “‘Concentration’ on night one utilized the three color groups and mixed people up repeatedly. ‘Hotel Room Ramble’ gave students free time with free choice to talk with others. And ‘KMart candy run’ was simply the best way to encourage a tired group after a hard day of musical rehearsing.”

The two main aspects of the ACSI trip were the activies as a group that Ogdon planned and the choral teachings of the musicale instructors. In the end Ogdon said that he was quite proud of both of his choirs.

“I am particularly proud of the team effort the choir and ensemble put together for this ACSI Musicale,” Ogdon said. “We were a credit to our school and a true representation of Christ at work in our lives. Attitudes were positive, behavior was mature, and hearts were tender towards the things of God and with each other.”

For more information, read the Jan. 23 article, SmartMusic tracks student improvement (VIDEO).

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