On May 5, Leesville Intermediate Chorus traveled to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia to perform in Music in the Park. The competition occurs all throughout the spring and summer, with Leesville competing Saturday, May 5.
In the class, students prepare for the performance during class by rehearsing songs together just like one would study notes for a test. Tonya Dickens, teacher for Intermediate Chorus, explains the process behind preparing for Music in the Park.
“In Chorus, we try to develop a work ethic that is the same for every performance, so preparing for competition is just another opportunity to showcase the work they do every day. To be the best choir we can be, it is necessary that students individually practice, focus in class, pay attention to detail, and remain vocally healthy,” said Ms. Dickens.
According to Brian Clarke, sophomore and Intermediate Chorus member, the group performed three different songs. “Our warmup song was called My Very Own…it’s more or less like a love song, but it like doesn’t have to be taken in a romantic way. Our second [song] was Weep Oh My Eyes, which is basically like you’re feeling sad for losing a lover or anyone in general…our third [song] was Salmo 150 which is a Brazilian song about praising God,” said Clarke.
Groups were then rated on their performances, with the highest score being a superior. Judges ranked groups individually, based on their grade level and then whether it was an All-Female, All-Male, or Mixed Choir.
But after the performances are over, kids are allowed to explore the parks and ride on any rides they want to. Stephanie Melvin, sophomore and fellow Intermediate Chorus member, felt that although it was great that they won, hanging with her friends was the best part of the trip.
“You get to hangout with your friends, I guess, winning was kind of the icing on the cake but spending the day with all of my friends in chorus, riding roller coasters was probably the best part,” said Melvin.
Although the original purpose is for students to get more musical experience, both students and teachers receive much more than that. They have a chance to get to know each other and to bond outside of the stressful high school life.