The Chiles High School auditorium recently resonated with the voices of nearly 200 elementary students. Representing 20 schools, these vocalists were part of the 2016 Leon County Elementary Honor Chorus. For the last 16 years, this special program has provided an opportunity for young singers to perform and celebrate their love of music with their teachers, their loved ones and the entire community.
While offering words of encouragement, Superintendent Jackie Pons shared a personal memory with the students. “I love music and I love to sing.
When I was in chorus, my teacher, who I loved, used to tell me that I didn’t have to sing very loud. It was OK if I kind of kept it quiet. Now that I’m older I wonder if I wasn’t a great singer, but I still love it anyway. Keep loving the arts, it’s the key to your success.”
The Honor Chorus program includes an advocacy speaker, and this year Forest Van Camp was invited to speak about the importance of music education. As a former educator, administrator and school board member, he emphasized what students have to look forward to.
“This is not the end for you to participate in chorus. I know that some of you are going to middle school next year, and there are art programs, music programs, band and so much more waiting for you.”
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Honor Chorus concert is that, until the morning of the event, the students have never sung together. With 20 schools participating, multiple group rehearsals are not logistically practical, so much of the preparation occurs in small student ensembles at their respective schools. Students who are interested in being part of Honor Chorus work with their own music teachers to learn these songs before or after school.
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