|Pattonville choir gets rare invitation to perform for state group|
|Monday, February 12, 2018|
Nearly 80 students from Pattonville Heights Middle School were selected to give a once-in-a-lifetime performance approximately 800 music educators from across Missouri. The choir was chosen by competitive blind audition to sing at the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) annual conference on Jan. 25.
Heights choir director Tracy Baker submitted a recording of last year’s choir singing, and judges chose the choral group without knowing who the students were or what age group they represented. The choir is made up of students in sixth through eighth grades.The Heights choir was the only middle school choir in Missouri selected to perform during the conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. Nearly all of the other groups chosen to perform over the three-day conference represented high schools, colleges and community groups in Missouri. This is the first Pattonville musical group to be invited to perform at MMEA.
“I think there were a total of 180 ensembles that auditioned - choir, band and orchestras," Baker said. "There were 80 choirs and they only took 10, so to get chosen is a pretty big deal.”
The following students performed solos during the concert: Julia Forczek, Chelsey Laughlin, Lily Reynolds, Autumn Varner and Larissa Vassallo.
Thanks to a grant from the Missouri Choral Directors Association, the choir performed an original piece of music written by local composer Jerry Estes specifically for the occasion. His song, titled "We Believe in Tomorrow," made its world performance premier during a preview concert the choir gave at its school a few days before the MMEA concert. The piece was one of six songs the choir sang, all of which carried messages about hope and choosing love and peace in the midst of pain and turmoil.
Other Pattonville music staff were on hand to support the choir in its performance. Pattonville High School choir teacher Melynda Lamb introduced the group, and the choir was accompanied on different songs by orchestra teacher Carlye Feeney and band teachers Abigail Hall, Andrew Smith and Anna White. Erin Falloon, an accompanist in Pattonville, played piano.
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