Oklahoma Baptist University

Shawnee Honor Choir to Perform Concert Dec. 13

Shawnee Honor Choir, an auditioned choir of 53 fourth through seventh graders representing 17 different schools in Shawnee and the surrounding area, will perform a concert on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. in Raley Chapel's Yarborough Auditorium on the Oklahoma Baptist University campus. The concert is free and open to the public.

Shawnee Honor Choir is a part of the Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, the preparatory choirs of Oklahoma Baptist University. Shawnee Honor Choir is directed by Conchita Hansford, Music Preparatory director and OBU faculty member since 1990. Dephanie Lilite serves as the choir's accompanist.

The choir performs in 12 schools annually, presents two formal public concerts each year and frequently performs at community events. The choir has performed four times at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention in Tulsa. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the choir performed at Horace Mann Elementary, Sequoyah Elementary and North Rock Creek School, all in Shawnee, Okla. On Friday, Dec. 4, they performed at Jefferson Elementary and Will Rogers Elementary in Shawnee and Russell Babb Elementary in Harrah, Okla.

The Dec. 13 concert will open with a popular English carol, "On Christmas Night," the Sussex carol arranged by Jody Lindh, and then the choir will perform "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly," a traditional Polish carol arranged by Ruth Dwyer and Martin Ellis. Other selections include "Jubilate, Alleluia!" by Mary Lynn Lightfoot; "On This Still, Silent Night," which is a pairing of two German carols "Still, Still, Still" and "Silent Night;" and "Ding Dong! Merrily on High!" a French carol arranged by Ruth Artman. The program also includes "Night of Silence" by Daniel Kantor and "A Festive Fa La La ," by Mary Lynn Lightfoot. The final Christmas selection is a fun round titled "Merry Christmas to You All."

Soloists for "Night of Silence" include Parker Terrell, Julianne Gilmore and Ansley Elliott.

Valerie Hunt, a junior OBU instrumental music major from Peoria, Ariz., and Elizabeth Polston, a junior instrumental music education major from Broken Arrow, Okla., will join Shawnee Honor Choir playing flute on "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly." Polston will also play flute on "On This Still, Silent Night." Jessica Hernandez, a freshman instrumental music education major from Shawnee will play orchestra bells on "Ding Dong! Merrily On High."

The Young Musicians hand bell choir from First Baptist Church in Shawnee, under the direction of Dr. Ron Lewis, will perform in "On Christmas Night" and "On This Still, Silent Night"

Orff instrumentalists will perform "Festive Bells" by Bradley Bonner. These students include Beth Brasher, Evie Griffin and Graham Griffin, soprano glockenspiels; Coral Van Dyne, alto glockenspiel; Caleb Richards and Annika Stephens, soprano xylophones; Michaela Ramsey, soprano metallophone; Dylan Carver, alto metallophone; April Brunson, Kaylan Posey and Olivia Wilkerson, alto xylophones; Shea Ready, bass xylophone; Mikayla Fest, bass metallophone; and Andrea Wood, bass bars.

Introductions to the songs will be presented by Jewell Bruce, Alexis Capron, Haleigh Collier, Crystal Lee, London Priest, Johnathon Richardson, Stevany Saxon and Acacia Wooden.

At the end of the program, there will be an audience sing-a-long of Christmas carols. Hand chime performers include Jewell Bruce, Shelbi Bruner, Abby Brunson, Joe Dockery, Gabby Flick, Hailey Freeman, Lauren Grein, Julieann Gilmore, Gloria Henry, Becca Kisch, Crystal Lee, Ashlyn Lupton, Makenzie Mason, Hannah Naylor, Holly Naylor, Veroni O'Dell, London Priest, Johnathon Richardson, Angelina Ropp, Parker Terrell, Emily Tiger, Isaac Wilson, Acacia Wooden, Emily Yoakum and Lauren Yoakum.

Schools represented in Shawnee Honor Choir include Dale Elementary, Dale Middle School, Grove School, Home School, Jefferson Elementary, Liberty Academy, Meeker Elementary, McLoud Intermediate, New Lima Elementary, North Rock Creek School, Park Road Elementary in Chandler, Prague Elementary, Prague Intermediate, Sequoyah Elementary, Shawnee Middle School, South Rock Creek School and Will Rogers Elementary.

Polston and Micah Reinhart, a junior vocal music education major from Mooreland, Okla., serve as college student assistants with Shawnee Honor Choir. They provide valuable assistance with sectionals and instrumental rehearsals on a regular basis, Hansford said.

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. The choir provides a special learning environment designed to provide a rich and rewarding musical experience for each child. The children study and perform a variety of music from simple unison songs to more challenging choral literature. Concepts about music (melody, rhythm, harmony, form and expression) and musical skills (singing, music reading, etc.) are taught systematically throughout the rehearsals. Singing, a powerfully personal means of musical expression is the major focus of musical experience in Shawnee Honor Choir. 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 lifelong relationship with music for the singers and their families.

Hansford, OBU assistant professor of music, has taught music education at all levels including Kindermusik for babies and their mothers and other Kindermusik classes for children through age 6. During her 28-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, she has presented numerous workshops in Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas. She also directs the Young Musician's Choir at First Baptist Church, 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.

Lilite has concertized extensively in London, Haiti and the United States as a versatile pianist whose brilliance shines as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. A southern California native, she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the Conservatory of Music at Biola University and a master's degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Pennsylvania State University. This is her second year to serve as accompanist of Shawnee Honor Choir.