“We have nine children’s choirs and I’ve been doing this for years and years. For 16 years, I was with Cobb County schools before I took the position here at Tabernacle,” Shook explained. “What the honor chorus is is each of the 12 elementary schools in Bartow County audition and send 12 kids to this honor chorus, which makes a chorus of 144 fifth graders. So, it makes an excelled group.”
While Shook selected the music for the event in December 2013, elementary school students still are working on their performance.
“I’ll work with them [this morning] where I’ll teach them the songs ... and then they’ll go back home on the bus and then they’ll come back that night with their parents,” Shook said. “... It’s harder music, it’s singing in parts, which ... is more difficult for them.
“Some of the music we’ll be doing will be in two parts and some will be in three parts and what I’ll be doing is I’ll be talking to them more about perfecting a part — breathing exercises, how our bodies work to make the sound — those kinds of things where sometimes teachers don’t have the time to do and when you have a smaller group, you’re not confined to ‘I have this many children in and out in one class period.’ I have more time to work with them on perfection.”
Shook said the high school performance not only will be entertaining for those in attendance, but will be educational for the elementary school performers.
“This helps the elementary school students see what they can do as they get older [and] it’s kind of an opportunity for them to see where they can go in their musical careers and [the high school performers] help round out the program,” she said.
Shook said having the performance and facilitating music programs is to create a positive impact on local youth while allowing them to share an uplifting experience with others.
“We’re going to do some things that are classical, but we’re going to do some real fun things too,” she said. “One of our songs is ‘Never Polka with a Porcupine,’ so we’ll be working from one end of the spectrum to the other to help children understand more about music and use music to brighten somebody else’s day.”
Jarred Summey, chorus director at CHS, said, for example, the school’s 30-person women’s chorus will perform a selection of songs from Disney films, such as “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast” and “Cruella De Vil” from “101 Dalmatians.”
“We usually try and do upbeat stuff that the elementary school kids will enjoy,” Summey said.
He said the event is a good opportunity for young singers to perform in a large venue and learn more about what they can experience if they continue participating in chorus programs throughout their academic career.
“I feel in a lot of cases [chorus creates] a sense of belonging, a sense of camaraderie you get when working with a team of young students, it’s a sense of passion and enjoying singing that students — when they fall in love with it at an early age — they continue to want to pursue it,” Summey said. “We encourage them to go on through middle school and on into high school [participating in chorus].”