Pictured here is the festival Honor choir under the direction of Dr. Ben Keller.
On Friday, May 4th the second annual Clover Park Invitational Middle School Choral Festival was held at Mann Middle School. Participating schools were Mann Middle School, Hudtloff Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, and Orting Middle School.
The festival format was designed to meet the needs of middle school choral students who need a positive, fun atmosphere in which to compete against a standard of choral excellence set forth by the committee of teachers who created the event. Seeking to add academic rigor to the experience a music theory challenge was added, challenging students to demonstrate their knowledge of the basic elements of music theory. The day started with each choir performing for adjudication by each of two judges followed by a sack lunch in the gym where student from different schools were encouraged to mingle and meet.
The adjudicators for the event were the high school choral teachers from Clover Park School District. This marked Lakes’, Dr. Ben Keller’s second time judging the festival. He was joined by Ms. Anne Chappell, Clover Park High School Choral and Drama Director. Both adjudicators did an outstanding job. Their task was to honestly evaluate each choral group while encouraging the young musicians to love and dedicate themselves to the craft of choral musicianship.
Dr. Keller, whose Studio Chamber Choir recently took top honors in the National Festival of Gold in San Francisco showed his ability to relate equally well with middle schoolers as he continually showed his excitement and enthusiasm for their efforts toward excellence in choral music. As well as adjudicating choral groups he directed the “Festival Honor Choir”, featuring top students from each of the participating schools. That group performed music normally reserved for high level high school and college musicians at the Gala Evening Festival Concert which also featured Ms. Anne Chappell directing a similar, all girls, group the “Festival Treble Honor Choir” who sang beautifully. Ms. Chappell was an outstanding adjudicator who left each group feeling good about what they’d accomplished yet challenged to do an even better job in the future.
The Gala Evening Festival Concert also featured a selection by each of the participating choirs, as well as three numbers by the Festival Massed Choir which was made up of all of the participating students. The Festival Massed Choir was directed by Ms. Lisa Sutter (student teacher at Lakes HS), Ms. Cynthia Bettes of Hudtloff, and Mr. Rich Johnson of Mann who was festival chairman. The concert ended with the Massed Choir who did three moving pieces including a rousing rendition of “We’re All In This Together” from High School Musical.
The evening was capped off with an outstanding Festival Party at the Mann Middle School gymnasium where Festival participants celebrated the outstanding day of music and fun!
Participating directors were: Mrs. Rachel Welde, Choral Director of Pioneer Middle School and Steilacoom High School, Mrs. Jacki Backus, Choral Director of both Orting Middle School and Orting High School, Ms. Cynthia Bettes, Choral and Drama director at Hudtloff Middle School, and Mr. Rich Johnson, Choral and Drama Director of Mann Middle School.
Pictured here festival participants from all four middle schools join hands in a fun competition at the festival party.