By Emily Gregg.
On February 17th and 18th, twenty-four talented musicians all awoke in the early hours of morn to a day filled with song. This past weekend was the AMEA Regional Choir, Orchestra, and Band festival. In order to perform, students had to prepare an audition towards the end of January, and after they received notice of their acceptance, they had two short weeks to learn college-level music. Pieces were selected by the clinicians, who guide the students through their experience. This year, Heritage Academy was represented in both choir and orchestra.
If you ever plan to attend the NAU School of music, you’d be interested to know that the clinician for choir was none other than Dr. Edith Copley, director of choirs at NAU. Interestingly, Heritage’s very own Mr. Rakita studied with her as he obtained his graduate degree in choral education. The repertoire Dr. Copley so appropriately selected included pieces such as Blessed be the Name of the Lord (by Dale Grotenhuis), Tuba Rosa (Don Macdonald), Hlohonolofatsa (arr. Daniel Jackson), How can I keep from Singing?(Taylor Davis), and I’ll Fly Away (arr. Craig Courtney). Their performance was filled with amazing soloists, choreography, and most impressively, the students memorized the songs. Benjamin Hill and Rebecca Eldredge were both recognized and congratulated for being four-year participants—a truly admirable accomplishment. After the experience, Rebecca said, “My 4th and final regional choir left me in tears. Over the past four years, I have made so many friends from different schools, had the opportunity to work with amazing directors, and got to apply principles and techniques into my life that I never would have learned otherwise. Dr. Edith Copley advised us all, wherever we go, whatever we do, to keep singing because we love it. I love to sing because it brings joy to me and everyone who listens. The world is scary and my life is crazy, but singing brings me peace.” “Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear its’ music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?”
From the left, back row: Josh Mortensen, Dallin Hale, Tayte Biggs, Hyrum Phelps, Anthony Fabiano, Brigham Olsen, Ben Hill, Cyle Peterson, Ether Barlow, and Mr. Rakita
Front row: Leah Anderson, Rebecca Eldredge, Amalie Branch, Rebekah Black, Kessi-Anne Hansen, Zoey Jones, Kayla Peterson, Ariana Rajewski, Mary Dewitt, and Jarett Hansen
In addition to the choir, Carlie Meeker performed on the oboe in the orchestra, along with Addison Gordon, Hope Callister, Zachary Alston, and Emily Gregg, who are all violinists. The director of the orchestra was Mr. Rob Lubbers, currently a teacher at Dobson High School. The songs he chose were the Overture to “Candide” by Leonard Berstein, and Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Carlie had the opportunity to play many solos in both pieces. She and Addison were also recognized for participating in the festival each year of high school.
To all aspiring musicians, I would encourage you to try to involve yourself in a program like this. Having participated in both the choir and orchestra, I can definitely say that I have been challenged musically and pushed forward as I continue to study. Being with a group of people who are at your level or better makes for a truly dedicated ensemble that is capable of amazing things. The difficulty of the orchestral music was evident as we practiced for 8 hours with minimal breaks (aside from lunch). However, we still managed to pull off a successful performance that left the crowd enthralled. Congratulations to all musicians this year!
Back from the left: Brigham Olsen, Hyrum Phelps, Benjamin Hill, Cyle Petersen, Jarett Hansen’s head, Zachary Alston, Mr. Blau, and Mr. Rakita
Middle-ish: Carlie Meeker, Kessi-Anne Hansen, Mary Dewitt, Amalie Branch, Ariana Rajewski, Hope Callister, Addison Gordon, Emily Gregg
Front-ish: Kayla Peterson, and Zoey Jones in the most front