Oklahoma Baptist University

Shawnee Honor Choir Performs at OBU Dec. 2

Shawnee Honor Choir, an auditioned group of 53 fourth through seventh grade students, will perform Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. in Oklahoma Baptist University’s Yarborough Auditorium. The concert is open to the public with free admission.

The choral group represents 16 different schools in Shawnee and the surrounding area. The choir is part of the Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, coordinated through OBU’s Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts.

Shawnee Honor Choir is directed by Conchita Hansford, music preparatory director and OBU faculty member since 1990. Laura Whitmore, choral director at Shawnee Middle School, serves as accompanist.

Each year Shawnee Honor Choir performs in 12 schools, presents two public concerts, and frequently performs at community events. The choir performed in January 2007 at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention in Tulsa.

On Tuesday, November 27, the choir will perform at Liberty Academy, Grove School and Will Rogers Elementary. On Friday, November 30, the group will perform at North Rock Creek School, Jefferson Elementary and Sequoyah Elementary.

The program will include patriotic selections in honor of Oklahoma’s centennial as well as a few Christmas anthems. Shawnee Honor Choir will open with the official state children’s song, “Oklahoma, My Native Land,” by Martha Kemm Barrett, and then perform “This Land is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie.

Other selections include “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin, arranged by Joyce Eilers; and “American the Beautiful” by Samuel Ward, arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram. Christmas selections include “Sing a Glad Noel!” by Mary Lynn Lightfoot and “Sound the Trumpet and Ring the Bells” by Robert Leaf.

Soloists for “This Land is Your Land” include Jacob Iven and Aspen Howard, Kristin Wollam and Elizabeth Bronson, and Ansley Elliott and Leeann Shaw.

OBU freshman Kade Goforth, on trumpet, and OBU music majors playing hand chimes will join Shawnee Honor Choir for “Sound the Trumpet and Ring the Bells.”

Orff instrumentalists will perform “Silent Night,” arranged by Linda Forrect. The students include Bonnie Wilkinson and Leeann Shaw, soprano glockenspiels; Bethany Graves, alto glockenspiel; Joseph Brasher and Graham Griffin, soprano xylophones; Beth Brasher, soprano metallophone; Madison Auld, alto metallophone; Catherine Longest and Abbey Beeson, alto xylophones; Hope Colman, bass xylophone; Jordan Gauss, bass metallophone; and Andrea Wood, bass bars.

At the end of the program, there will be an audience sing-a-long of Christmas carols. Hand chime performers include Kourtney Alameda, Chloe Anderson, Rachel Argo, Elizabeth Bronson, Devanie Dauman, Gillian Gauss, Matthew Harris, Aspen Howard, Haleigh Jones, Bailey Kasterke, Victoria Lauar, Kaeley Mastin, Cassandra Misa, Darby Myers, Holly Naylor, Johnathon Richardson, Kimberly Ross, Memery Sloan, Olivia Wilkinson, Alisha Wood, Rachel Wright, and Emily Yoakum.

Schools represented in the Shawnee Honor Choir include Cross Timbers in Tecumseh, Dale, Grove, home schools, Jefferson, Konawa Middle School, Liberty Academy, McLoud Elementary, McLoud Middle School, North Rock Creek, Russell Babb in Harrah, Sequoyah, Shawnee Middle School, South Rock Creek, Tecumseh Middle School and Will Rogers.

College student assistants with Shawnee Honor Choir include Whitni Butler and Laura Ingram, junior music education majors.

“The choir is dedicated to the philosophy that through the learning and performance of excellent choral literature, the lives of the choir members, as well as the lives of their families and the community will be enriched both musically and artistically,” said Hansford. “The choir provides a special learning environment designed to provide a rich and rewarding musical experience for each child.”

Hansford said the children study and perform a variety of music from simple unison songs to more challenging choral literature.

“Singing, a powerfully personal means of musical expression, is the major focus of musical experience in Shawnee Honor Choir,” she said. “The children are taught the use of the vocal instrument through exercise, posture, breath and tone production. The goal is that the experience of artistic singing will form the foundation of a life-long relationship with music for the singers and their families.”

Hansford has taught music education at all levels including Kindermusik for babies and their mothers and other Kindermusik classes for children through age six. During her 27-year teaching career, she has taught a variety of university courses including early childhood and elementary music methods, church music methods, class piano, voice, and private piano.

Active as a guest conductor and workshop leader, Hansford has presented numerous workshops in Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas. She also directs the Young Musicians’ Choir at First Baptist Church in Shawnee.

Hansford has earned degrees from Mississippi University for Women and Wayland Baptist University. She is Orff certified and has done additional graduate study in music at Texas Tech University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Colorado at Greeley. She is a licensed Kindermusik educator.

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