Elijah Nabors got straight to the point when asked why he was participating in the 5th Annual Cherry Creek Schools Middle School Choir Festival.
“I love it. I love choir. I love singing,” said Nabors, who is an eighth-grader at Laredo Middle School.
He was one of nearly 600 middle school choir members who took part in the districtwide festival held on Oct. 20 at Smoky Hill High School. Each of the ten Cherry Creek School District middle schools brought one choir to the day-long event. One by one, each choir took the stage to perform one or two songs for an audience of fellow students.
“It’s really amazing just to see other people perform,” said Yoana Gomez, an eighth-grade student at Horizon Community Middle School. “It’s fun because you get to see all the different choirs. You can learn from other people.”
“There’s no audience like a peer audience to make you a little bit nervous,” said Larry Meerdink, a retired middle and high school music teacher who was the guest clinician for the day.” They’re singing for their friends and for the other schools and for pride.”
After each group performed, Meerdink gave the members positive feedback and constructive criticism.
“I’m trying to improve their performance,” Meerdink said. “They’ve come already polished but at different stages. My job is to do the fine detail stuff.”
Meerdink also wants to reinforce the students’ interest in and love for music and help them understand how powerful the medium can be.
“I hope they realize that music changes lives, that music can change our attitudes and our perspectives on any given day,” Meerdink said.
The festival wrapped up with all ten choirs – all 600 students – performing one piece together. Titled “Music, lead the way!” the upbeat piece was an inspiring way to end the day.
“I am super proud of our students in Cherry Creek Schools,” said Theresa Newman, choir director at Thunder Ridge Middle School. “Not only do they perform really well, they sing really well, but they are so respectful of each other and of everything that’s going on onstage. It’s a great day.”