Creswell, Education, Scene & Heard

Middle school vocalists know how to ‘Just Sing It!’

A mass choir of about 500 middle school students performs under guest conductor Chris Dobson during the Just Sing It! Festival on Feb. 20 at Springfield High School. Photo provided/Stacy Swartout-McKee

CRESWELL – Just Sing It! manager Stacy Swartout-McKee summed up the middle school choir festival perfectly: ”I love how 500 kiddos who don’t know each other can just show up at one place and be able to participate in something universal, like music,” said Swartout-McKee, Springfield High School choral director. ”They all understand what each other is feeling, because they have very similar experiences.”
Among those 500 who gathered for the day-long festival on Feb. 20 at SHS were Creswell Middle School Choir students, accompanied by their director, Erik Telfer. The CMS Choir – one of nine of the 12 choirs from middle schools throughout the Willamette Valley to perform individually as well as with the mass choir – sang ”Bhombela,” arr. Will Skaff and ”Connected,” by Brian Tate.
Soloists/duets on ”Bhombela” were Jaidene Torgison and Elena Garcia-Fetter, Nola Graf, Elliette Kinney and Tylyn Bowles.
The mass choir performed ”Nine Hundred Miles,” arr. Philip E. Silvey and ”Climbin’ Up the Mountain, Children,” arr. Rollo Dilworth, under guest conductor Chris Dobson – the artistic director for the Oregon Children’s Choir (OCC) and choir teacher at South Eugene High School.
”CMS choir students had a blast and really enjoyed having Chris Dobson as the guest clinician,” Telfer said. ”Just Sing It! gives CMS Choir a chance to perform before other middle school students – and they also have a wonderful opportunity to come together and make music as a whole.”
”Spending this time together solidifies their reasons for singing and performing,” Swartout-McKee said. ”It’s cool; it’s fun; it’s safe; it’s positive. It makes them feel good. They are part of something bigger than themselves.”
The CMS Choir perform ”Bhombela” and ”Connected” during its Spring Concert, at 7 p.m. on March 17 in the CMS Cafetorium.



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