Shawnee Honor Choir in Concert May 2

Shawnee Honor Choir will present its spring concert on Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m. in Yarborough Auditorium of Raley Chapel on the OBU campus. The concert is free and open to the public.

Shawnee Honor Choir is an auditioned choir of 58 fourth through seventh graders representing 18 different schools in Shawnee and the surrounding area. The 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, director of the OBU Music Preparatory Department and assistant professor of music. Dephanie Lilite serves as accompanist.

Shawnee Honor 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, April 27, the choir will perform at Grove, Horace Mann and Will Rogers schools. On Friday, April 30, they will perform at North Rock Creek and Sequoyah schools and Liberty Academy.

The Shawnee Honor Choir will open its concert with a thoughtful, expressive song, titled "The Artist Teaches Us All," by Mark Patterson, which mentions all the arts. Other selections on the program include "The Moon" by Andy Beck, "Dreamland" by Ruth Dwyer and Martin Ellis, and "Dreams that Children Dream" by Ruth Elaine Schram and Celsie Staggers. A lighter part of the program includes "The Syncopated Clock," written by Leroy Anderson and arranged by Greg Gilpin, "The Cutting Edge of Solfege" by Jill Gallina, and "Lightning" by Greg Gilpin. The final selection, "There's Room for Many-A More," arranged by Greg Gilpin, is a fun setting of "This Train" and "Get On Board Little Children."

Orff instrumentalists will perform "Canon" by Carl Orff. These students include Evie Griffin, Graham Griffin, Mikayla Fest and Caleb Richards, soprano glockenspiels; Shea Ready, alto glockenspiel; Annika Stevens and Olivia Wilkerson, soprano xylophones; Carlton Bond, Michaela Ramsey and Andrea Wood, alto xylophones; Lauren Grein, bass xylophone; Kaylan Posey, bass metallophone; Johnathan Richardson, bass bars; and Coral Van Dyne, woodblock.

Montrey Bond, Beth Brasher, Alexis Capron, Haleigh Collier, Ansley Elliott, Kaeley Mastin, Brennan Roark, Stevany Saxon and Parker Terrell will present introductions to the choral works.

At the end of the program, there will be an audience sing-a-long of patriotic songs. Hand chime performers include Carlson Bond, Montrey Bond, Abbey Brunson, Brooklyn Carter, Joe Dockery, Coral Van Dyne, Annie Elliott, Ansley Elliott, Mikayla Fest, Sierra Frederickson, Hailey Freeman, Julieann Gilmore, Graham Griffin, Becca Kisch, Crystal Lee, Makenzie Mason, Kaeley Mastin, Johnathon Richardson, Angelina Ropp, Emily Sconyers, Annika Stephens, Parker Terrell, Emily Tiger, Olivia Wilkerson, Andrea Wood, 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, McLoud Elementary, Meeker Elementary, 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.

College student assistants with Shawnee Honor Choir include Elizabeth Polston, a senior music education major from Broken Arrow, Okla., and Micah Reinhart, a senior vocal music major from Mooreland, Okla. Hansford said the students provide valuable assistance with sectionals and instrumental rehearsals on a regular basis. Honor choir mom is Kim Fest.

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 has taught music education at all levels including Kindermusik for babies 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 Musicians Choir at the First Baptist Church of Shawnee.

Hansford 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 an 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.

Audition times for all Young Singers of Central Oklahoma choirs for 2010-11 will be Tuesday, May 11, from 3-5 p.m. in Raley Chapel. For more information, call Hansford at (405) 878-2319.