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McQuade Leads ‘Circle the State with Song’ Event

January 19, 2009

Oklahoma Baptist University welcomed about 75 children on Friday, Jan. 16, for the 15th annual "Circle the State with Song," a music festival sponsored in 14 locations statewide by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association. Dr. Jennifer McQuade, OBU assistant professor of music, was invited to serve as guest clinician for the regional event.

Circle the State with Song is designed to provide an opportunity for exceptional music students, ranging from fourth to eighth grade, to work with guest choral clinicians on challenging music for an exciting choral experience with other students. Music teachers also have the opportunity to observe and learn as the clinician works with the students and to share vocal pedagogy ideas with other teachers. The festival also aims to give students a chance to perform children's choral repertoire of excellent quality, and give both students and teachers the opportunity to participate in the 2009 All-Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OMEA) Children's Chorus.

"Being involved in Circle the State with Song allows me the opportunity to work with children from our region who, already at a young age, are passionate about singing," McQuade said.

Participating children were hand-selected by their school music teachers as having promising singing ability and who might eventually qualify for an OMEA All-State Chorus. The program of music chosen for Circle the State with Song (CTSWS) is challenging beyond what many children encounter in their public school music programs, allowing the children a special opportunity to explore their maximum potential through challenging and high-quality repertoire, McQuade said.

"It is a great honor to be chosen as this year's guest clinician for CTSWS," she said. "The opportunity to meet and work with some of the music teachers from our region allows for me to be in closer communication with them about OBU's rich music programs and events. As a vocal pedagogue, I am very interested in engaging in conversation with the music teacher participants about their choral rehearsal techniques, breath management, and other general topics concerning the teaching of singing.

"Perhaps the most valuable benefit of all is the chance to work with these young, talented students who may one day consider a degree in music at OBU and remember a positive experience on our campus through their participation in programs such as CTSWS," McQuade said.