Oklahoma Baptist University

Shawnee Honor Choir to Perform Spring Concert April 28

Shawnee Honor Choir will present its spring concert on Sunday, April 28, 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, an auditioned choir of 45 third- through eighth-grade students representing 19 different schools in Shawnee and the surrounding area, is a part of the Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, the preparatory choirs of Oklahoma Baptist University. Shawnee Honor Choir is conducted by Conchita Hansford, Music Preparatory director and OBU faculty member since 1990. Dephanie Lilite serves as accompanist.

Shawnee Honor Choir performs in 12 schools annually, presents four formal public concerts each year and frequently performs at community events. The choir has performed five times at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Convention in Tulsa. On Tuesday, April 23, the choir will perform at South Rock Creek, North Rock Creek, Pleasant Grove and Sterling House, an assisted living facility. On Friday, April 26, they will perform at Will Rogers, Grove and Sequoyah.

Shawnee Honor Choir will open with “Break Forth Into Singing” by Eugene Butler and then perform “Who Can Sail” a three part Finnish Folk Song arranged by Carl-Bertil Agnestig. Other selections include “Where the Music Comes From” by Lee Hoiby; “She Shall Have Music” from Nursery Rhyme Cantata by Nick Page; and “Never Let Go of Your Dream” by Mary Donnelly and George L.O. Strid. The final selections are “Winds” by Larysa Kuzmenko, an original work set to the poetry of students from a public school in Toronto, Canada, under the guidance of their teacher; and “Playground Tunes” arranged by Earlene Rentz. “Playground Tunes” includes “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “London Bridge” and “Did You Ever See a Lassie.”

Orff instrumentalists will perform “Canon” by Carl Orff. These students include Catherine Burgess, Olivia Todd and Mikayla Fest, soprano glockenspiels; Abigail Lilite, alto glockenspiel; Noah Youmans and Noah Drew, soprano xylophones; Juliana Cannon, Angelina Ropp and Alyssa Baughman, alto xylophones; Kali Giddens, alto metallophone; Parker Terrell, bass xylophone; Hannah Baughman, bass metallophone; Ashley Smith, bass bars; and Kate Barrett, temple blocks.

Introductions to the choral works will be presented by Noah Drew, Abigail Lilite, Parker Terrell, A.J. Higgins, Jacob Yoakum, Noah Youmans, Andrew Terrell and Megan Hardwick.

At the end of the program, there will be an audience sing-a-long of Patriotic songs. Hand chime performers include Rose Anderson, Brooke Bowman, Baylor Brannon, Julie Chance, Lily Hardwick, Megan Hardwick, A.J. Higgins, Devon Kreft, Karleigh Landes, Mackenzie Morgan, Bethany Newell, Kaylan Posey, Maggie Price, Emma Purvis, Chyanna Reece, Corinna Ropp, Gabriella Rowe, Emily Sconyers, Abby Smith, Andrew Terrell, Emily Yoakum, Jacob Yoakum, Lauren Yoakum and Sydney Vanbebber.

Schools represented in Shawnee Honor Choir include Bethel Elementary, Bethel Middle School, Clara Reynolds Elementary, Family of Faith, Grove, Holdenville Middle School, Home School, Jefferson Elementary, Liberty Academy, McLoud Elementary, McLoud Middle School, New Lima Middle School, North Rock Creek, Prague Elementary, Prague Middle School, Sequoyah Elementary, Shawnee Middle School, South Rock Creek, and Will Rogers Elementary.

College student rehearsal assistants include Ariel Hawkins and Melanie Clanton, sophomore vocal music education majors. These students provide valuable assistance with sectional rehearsals on a weekly basis. Honor choir mom is Kim Fest.

Interested children may audition for Shawnee Honor Choir (third through seventh grades) or Concert Choir (eighth through 12th grades) on Tuesday, May 7, or Tuesday,May 14, from 3-5 p.m. at OBU, in Raley Chapel, room 141. Returning Shawnee Honor Choir students may re-audition on Tuesday, April 23, or Tuesday, April 30. For additional audition information, please call Conchita Hansford at (405) 585-4323. Each student will be asked to sing “Happy Birthday.” Discovery Singers (first through third grades) is a non-auditioned choir.

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 life long relationship with music for the singers and their families.

Conchita Hansford, 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 more than 30-year teaching career, she has taught a variety of university courses including early childhood and elementary music methods, children’s 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. She 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.

Dephanie 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 fifth year to serve as accompanist of Shawnee Honor Choir.

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