Shawnee Honor Choir Gives Concert April 29

Shawnee Honor Choir, an auditioned group of 60 fourth-through-sixth graders, will present its spring concert Sunday, April 29, 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 17 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, director of OBU preparatory department. Luke Neff, a freshman piano major from McPherson, Kan., serves as accompanist.

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

In addition to the April 29 concert, the choir will perform at several area schools this month. On Tuesday, April 24, the choir will sing at Russell Babb Elementary in Harrah, and at Shawnee’s Grove and North Rock Creek Schools.

On Friday, April 27, the choir will perform at Liberty Academy, Sequoyah Elementary and Will Rogers Elementary.

Also performing at the April 29 concert will be the Apprentice Choir, a non-auditioned group directed by OBU music graduate Amber Crawley. The choir’s accompanist is Cherry Donnelly.

The Apprentice Choir will be singing “Moses’ Toeses, A Tongue Twister” by Anthony Foster; “Tell Me What You Know About Joshua” with “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” by Gary Simmons, arranged by John Devries; “Dance, Sing, Clap Your Hands,” by Douglas E. Wagner; and “Oh, How Good is Christ the Lord,” a Puerto Rican folk hymn arranged by Richard Starr.

Schools represented in Shawnee Honor Choir include Shawnee’s Jefferson, Sequoyah and Will Rogers Elementary; Shawnee Middle School; Cross Timbers, Tecumseh; Dale; Grove; Konawa; North Rock Creek; Russell Babb, Harrah; South Rock Creek; Strother Elementary, Seminole; and Tecumseh Middle School.

The April 30 program begins with “Break Forth Into Singing” by Eugene Butler, followed by “A Time for Singing” by Pat Messick. Other selections include “This Old Man” by James Fulleylove; “Playground Tunes” by Earlene Rentz, which is based on the traditional children’s songs “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “London Bridge” and “Did You Ever See a Lassie.” Final selections include “Michael Finnigin,” a folk song arrangement by Dave and Jean Perry, and “We Are the Dreamers” by Joan Varner.

Orff instrumentalists will perform “Canon” by Carl Orff. The students include Kasey Kinzey and Jeremy Richardson, soprano glockenspiels; Emma Morris and Jasmine Robinson, alto glockenspiel; Dylan Crawley and Graham Griffin, soprano xylophones; Drew Crawley and Graeson Griffin, alto xylophones; Kelsey Keener, bass xylophones; Abbey Beeson, bass metallophone; Joseph Brasher, bass bars; and Sarah Anderson, Samantha Willoughby and Andrea Wood, woodblocks.

Soloists and descant students include Alex Argo, Allona Cearley, Logan Davis, Makenna Herl, Audrey Kreft, Kasey Kinzey, Rebeckah McCreary, Ashley Poe, Jasmine Robinson, Alex Seiger and Amy Winn.

Presenting song introductions are Allona Cearley, Devanie Dauman, Ansley Elliott, Zachary Fisher, Jeanna Quanta and Rachel Wright.

The program concludes with an audience sing-a-long of patriotic songs. Hand chime performers include Sarah Anderson, Annie Bailey, Beth Brasher, Natalie Curtis, Davanie Dauman, Kari Edwards, Garnequa Frazier, Jordan Gauss, Kendra Haslam, Bryan Hopkins, Lauran King, Morgan King, Darby Myers, Jenna Quantz, Sarah Quantz, Bonnie Wilkinson, Alisha Wood, Andrea Wood and Rachael Wright.

Student assistants with Shawnee Honor Choir are Whitni Butler, a sophomore from Sapulpa, Okla.; Jennifer Ciesielski, a sophomore from Allen, Texas; and Laura Ingram, a sophomore from Lenexa, Kan.

“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 lifelong 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 26-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, 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.