Shawnee Honor Choir Concert to Feature 40 Area Children

Shawnee Honor Choir will present its spring concert on Sunday, May 1, 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 40 third through seventh graders representing 16 different schools in Shawnee and the surrounding area, is a part of the Young Singers of Central Oklahoma, the preparatory choirs of OBU. Shawnee Honor Choir is directed by Conchita Hansford, director of the Music Preparatory Department and assistant professor of music at OBU. 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 26, the choir will perform at North Rock Creek Elementary School, Pleasant Grove Elementary School and Liberty Academy, all in Shawnee. On Friday, April 29, they will perform at Will Rogers Elementary School, on the OBU campus for home school students and at Sequoyah Elementary School in Shawnee.

The Shawnee Honor Choir spring concert will open with “Bim Bam,” arranged by Shirley W. McRae, and “Lord of the Dance,” a Shaker melody adapted by Mary Lynn Lightfoot and arranged by John Rutter. Other selections include “Marchin’ with the Saints!” a partner song with “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In,” arranged by Greg Gilpin. “Three Quotes by Mark Twain,” composed by Andrea Ramsey, includes “The Silent Fool,” “Telling the Truth,” and “My Dear Mother.” Additional selections include “A Child of Song” by Derryl Herring and Andy Beck; and “Brother Noah Built the Ark,” a medley including “Who Built the Ark?” “Brother Noah” and “Didn’t It Rain.” The final selection is “Hey! Diddle, Diddle!” in the style of Mozart by Hal Hopson.

Daniel Anderson will join Shawnee Honor Choir on “Bim Bam” on the clarinet, with Ashlyn Streck and Dana Ward on tambourines. Anderson, Streck and Ward are OBU music majors.

Orff instrumentalists will perform “Allegro” by Carl Orff. These students include Olivia Wilkerson, April Brunson and Andrea Wood, soprano glockenspiels; Evie Griffin and Annika Stephens, soprano xylophones; Graham Griffin, soprano metallophone; Mikayla Fest, alto metallophone; Sabrina Bartley and Kaylan Posey, alto xylophones; Makenzie Mason, bass xylophone; Johnathon Richardson, bass metallophone; Parker Hammons, bass bar. Abbey Brunson and Connor Eaton, hand drums; Abigail Lilite and Catherine Burgess, wood blocks.

Introductions to the choral works will be presented by Montrey Bond, Abbey Brunson, Alexis Capron, Graham Griffin, Makenzie Mason, Parker Terrell, Olivia Vanbebber and Lauren Yoakum.

At the end of the program, there will be an audience sing-a-long of patriotic songs. Hand chime performers include Haley Carver, Mikayla Fest, Jackkie Fuller, Lillie Fuller, Kali Giddens, Graham Griffin, Jessica Hankins, Becca Kisch, Makenzie Mason, Alexis O’Neil, Angelina Ropp, Emily Sconyers, Ginny Stewart, Parker Terrell, Olivia Vanbebber, Andrea Wood, Emily Yoakum and Lauren Yoakum.

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

College student assistants with Shawnee Honor Choir include Ashlyn Streck and Dana Ward, sophomore vocal music education majors. They provide valuable assistance with sectional rehearsals on a regular basis, Hansford said. Honor choir mom is Kim Fest.

Interested children may audition for Shawnee Honor Choir, Discover Singers (first through third graders) or Concert Singers (eighth through 12th graders) on Tuesday, May 3, 3-5 p.m. in Raley Chapel, room 141. Returning Shawnee Honor Choir students may re-audition on April 26 or May 3.

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 (such as singing and music reading) 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.

Hansford 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 29-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 in 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.

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 third year to serve as accompanist of Shawnee Honor Choir.

For more information about the concert or the auditions, call Hansford at (405) 878-2319 or (405) 273-2273.