By Elizabeth Perkins.
Despite the relatively small student population, Heritage Academy offers a wonderful variety of core classes, college-level courses, sports, and fine arts electives. Within the category of fine arts alone, there are multiple dance, orchestra, band, and drama classes offered…but my favorite part about Heritage is the stunning choir program directed by Jordan Rakita. The choir program at Heritage is full of opportunities to progress musically. The songs chosen by Mr. Rakita are often fun, sometimes somber, occasionally ethereal, and always challenging in new and exciting ways. Participants have the chance to develop their musical ability in an environment devoid of judgment and brimming with the energy of the other choir students who all chose to be there. In each choir class, students are invited to sight read difficult pieces, learn to recognize a variety of chords, and work together as a group to blend and harmonize. Scholars are exposed to many musical styles and genres, from classical to folk to modern and more. All of these elements push choir members to quickly grow in musical knowledge and skill.
There are six choir classes at Heritage. Within these six choirs are many different ability and pace levels, as to better provide the right option for any prospective choir participant. If auditioning for a choir is too daunting, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, and Women’s Chorale are available for anyone to join without an audition. Each of these choirs is unique and full of fun songs, great memories, and lots of opportunities to build valuable friendships. All of the non-audition groups are also great introductions to the choir program for anyone who thinks they may want to join a more advanced choir later on. Heritage Academy promotes the opportunity to join any or all of three different advanced audition-only choirs. These groups include Advanced Women’s Choir, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. These audition choirs are positively life-altering with respect to musical development. The challenging music selections, choral competitions, and being in the company of highly skilled peers push participants to high levels of musical achievement.
Although the audition choirs are definitely harder classes that require more effort, the end result is unforgettable and worthwhile. In addition to personal musical development and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, the advanced choirs offer many opportunities to contribute to the school by singing at school sporting events and other school-hosted programs. Advanced Women’s Choir flash-mobbed the school during high school lunch in the fall, performing a creative arrangement of “Bring Me A Little Water, Silvie” complete with choreography and soloists. Concert Choir sang their energizing Maori song “Kua Rongo Mai Koe” at Heritage’s homecoming football game, and Chamber Choir is often invited to sing the national anthem at Heritage sporting events. The most difficult of the advanced groups, Chamber Choir, offers one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling choir experiences at Heritage because of all of the outside opportunities they are invited to participate in. During the holiday season, Chamber Choir was hired to carol in order to raise money and, just a few weeks ago, they performed and were evaluated at the Flagstaff Jazz-Madrigal Festival. Chamber Choir also had the chance to put on an event called “The Renaissance Feast,” a performance complete with a skit, food, and plenty of Christmas music. Each new opportunity builds musical excellence and confidence within both the individual participants and the group as a whole.
Being in choir at Heritage Academy is exceptionally rewarding. These choirs build scholars’ musical talents, creativity, and work ethic. The experience of being in choir is profound and unique because participating in a choir means creating music with friends who become like family. Join choir if you want fun!! Join choir if you want meaning. Join choir if you want the adventure of a lifetime. Join Choir.