Children's Chorus picked to go to two conferences

February 07, 1993|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,Contributing Writer

The Children's Chorus of Carroll County will represent the county and state at two musical conferences this year.

Their first invitation is to sing at the Maryland Music Educators Association Convention in Ocean City on March 5. They will appear at Convention Hall, featured among performances by the All-State Band and All-State Chorus and other top student groups.

In addition, eight members of the chorus have been selected for the International Children's Chorus Camp, part of a biennial international music conference by the National Organization of Kodaly Educators to be held this August in Hartford, Conn.

The 85-member chorus is directed by Ida Lea Rubin, Diane Jones and Holly Kugler, vocal music teachers in Carroll County public schools.

Mrs. Rubin teaches at Spring Garden Elementary School, Ms. Jones at William Winchester Elementary and Miss Kugler at Freedom Elementary.

The chorus has two groups at different levels of study. The younger group, generally second- through fifth-graders, is known "il choro della bella voce," or "chorus of beautiful voices." It is taught by Miss Kugler. The more advanced group, of fifth- through ninth-graders, are the "cantare belcanto," or "singers of beautiful songs."

Diane Jones accompanies both groups and assists Mrs. Rubin in directing the older group.

"We competed against middle school, high school and instrumental groups from all over the state, and college and university groups as well," said Mrs. Rubin. "To get to the main concert hall -- it's a great honor. You know what you've done."

Individual singers invited by separate audition to the international conference were Zayna Null of Francis Scott Key High School, Tatiana Bareis from North Carroll High, Tara Morgan of Northwest Middle, Melissa Hildenbrand of West Middle, Sarah Edwards of North Carroll Middle, Justin Moffitt of North Carroll Middle, Michael Bezanson of West Middle and Ronald Menchey of East Middle. Zayna and Tatiana participated in the national conference last year in Norman, Okla.

In its eighth year, the Children's Chorus of Carroll County has given musical training to hundreds of county children who love to sing. They devote Tuesday nights at West Middle School and occasional four-hour Saturdays to rehearsing great, but difficult, classical music.

Their Ocean City program includes "Gloria tibi" from the Mass by Leonard Bernstein, a setting by Bach and another by Praetorius of "How Brightly Shines Yon Morning Star," plus spirituals and a piece by Zoltan Kodaly of Hungary.

Kodaly's techniques of children's musical instruction are what fuel the excellence and enthusiasm of the children's choir. "Kodaly believed only the best music was good enough for the child," says Mrs. Rubin.

Kodaly died in 1967. He left an internationally recognized philosophy of teaching music that is used in the Carroll County school program, she said.

"You teach rhythm reading," she said, "and what's called solfege, which is being able to sing what is written without the aid of any instrument."

When auditions are held for the Children's Chorus each June, hundreds show up.

"We narrow it . . . because we think it makes each child more responsible," said Mrs. Rubin. "They know they are accountable for learning the music and really learning it. We tell the kids that there are no innings on the bench. We need them every minute -- their brains and every part of their bodies.

"They know that we really make them work. It's great for their self-discipline."

Of the international conference, Mrs. Rubin said, "Eight decided to apply and all eight were accepted. That's absolutely incredible."

The children will join a 100-voice international choir led by Dr. Mary Goetze of the University of Indiana, known for her recordings and published children's music. They'll meet the Hungarian Radio Children's Choir, in residence for the week.

In addition to presenting international research papers, the conference brings "the finest teachers from all over the world, who put on workshops and demonstrations so that teachers can learn and get ideas."

The Children's Chorus of Carroll County is sponsored by the Carroll County Arts Council. The county public school administration, too, says Mrs. Rubin, "is extremely proud that so many of its students will be representing the county at the state conference. They see the merits of the program."

She continued, "You couldn't pay us for the hours we put in. It's just incredible working with kids who are talented and want to be there. It's very stimulating -- it's just something about being able to do the best possible work. We all feel that way."

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