CLEARFIELD — More than 125 Davis School District Junior High choir students came together Tuesday night for a Select Choir Concert. And, after only three rehearsals, the group performed to a crowded audience at Clearfield High School.
Designed to challenge and enhance the students’ choir experience, the 16 junior high schools in Davis School District nominated eight students from their school choirs to be a part of the experience, which included more challenging music than they are accustomed to singing.
“I think it’s an opportunity for those kids who are very talented with their music to have something that challenges them and gives them an experience they wouldn’t have otherwise with students that are at their same level,” said Davis School District Fine Arts Supervisor Donna Croft.
“They also learn new skills and take those highly refined skills back to their classrooms and influence the whole choir.”
Each year, the district rotates between a select group from choir, orchestra and band, something they have been doing for their students for the last several years.
This year, the selected choir students had the opportunity to be directed by guest conductor Dr. Jessica Napoles, assistant professor of choral music education at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Napoles said it is an exciting guessing game in some ways, with only three rehearsals before the performance.
“We plan the music months ahead of time, but we only have the three rehearsals to see how these voices all come together,” she said.
The bulk of the work happens before the rehearsals, Napoles said. The choir teachers are given the music in advance, so they can work on the pieces with their students before they attend the full rehearsals, where Napoles helps put on the finishing touches.
She enjoys working with the students because of the opportunity she has to influence them.
“It is rewarding at this level, because you can truly make an impact in their choral music. It is an exciting endeavor to bring together something in the pursuit of excellence.”
For the students involved, it was an opportunity like none other.
Taylor McFarland, a ninth-grader from Fairfield Junior High, noticed immediately how different the group was compared to his school choir.
“Everyone here is more focused, and the people actually care, so we can get things done faster, putting together our songs in only three rehearsals,” he said.
McKayla Moon, an eighth-grader from Centennial Junior High, learned several new things about singing while working with the select choir.
“I have learned how to read music better and even how to sing a song in a different language,” said McKayla, referring to the traditional Zambian folk song the choir sang in the native African language.
Even after the final note was sung at the performance, Napoles knew their experience wasn’t over.
“Now they can take what they have learned on to their next thing by having a little bit more musical information, or the opportunity to be a leader in their respective choirs.”