YSCO Presents Centennial Celebration Concert

Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, a community children’s and youth choir program, will present a Centennial Celebration Concert on Sunday, November 4, at 3 p.m. The performance will be in Oklahoma Baptist University’s Raley Chapel.

The YSCO has four choirs featuring third-grade students through high school seniors. The students represent 37 schools and communities in the central Oklahoma area.

The Shawnee Honor Choir, conducted by Conchita Hansford, director of OBU’s preparatory department, will perform “Oklahoma My Native Land,” along with arrangements of “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” to open the concert.

Dr. Darla Eshelman, OBU associate professor of music education, will conduct the Concert Choir in singing her composition, “Hear Our Cry.” Eshelman said the song is dedicated to the memory of Kelsey Smith-Briggs and all victims of child abuse.

“The text of the song depicts abused children crying out to God in search of love and safety,” she said. “Christi Mitchell, an OBU telecommunications major, recently wrote and filmed a news report on this tragic epidemic.”

The video will be shown as part of the performance of Eshelman’s piece.

The final two choirs performing will be the Select Girls Chorus and the Youth Chorale, under the direction of OBU alumna and Carl Albert Junior High School vocal music teacher Randa Mitchell.

Highlights from the Select Girls Chorus will include “Shine on Me,” a spiritual arrangement; “Come and Celebrate,” composed by Eshelman; and “Cantate Hodie.”

The Youth Chorale will sing “People Will Say We’re in Love,” from the musical Oklahoma; “We Will Rejoice,” by Oklahoma composer Patti Drennan, and “The Storm is Passing Over.”

All four choirs will join together at the end of the concert to perform a medley from the musical “Oklahoma.” The audience will be invited to participate in the closing song, an arrangement of legendary Oklahoman Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

“We want our singers to embrace the excitement of Oklahoma’s centennial celebration, and to be proud of their state and all of its rich history,” said Mitchell.

Several communities are represented in the choirs, including Shawnee, Konawa, Meeker, Stroud, Tecumseh, Harrah, McLoud, Bethel, Midwest City, Oklahoma City, Choctaw, Earslboro, Prague, and Holdenville.

Eshelman said the focus of the YSCO program is the enhancement of self-esteem and musical growth through instruction which includes healthy vocal technique, music literacy and meaningful singing. As part of their training, OBU music education majors serve in various capacities as student conductors, accompanists and assistants for each YSCO choir.

“Students are provided with quality musical training as they participate in their school choirs and bands, which bring them to our program with a strong foundation and daily reinforcement,” said Eshelman.

The concert is free and open to the public. Call 878-2307 for more information.