Missouri Western began a new tradition by hosting its first ever invitational Honor Choir on Monday, Feb. 9.
The Honor Choir was comprised of over 150 high school students from the northwest region, personally selected by their directors to represent their schools at Western.
The primary focus of the day is to educate the students while also allowing them to make connections with other musicians in the area through an all-day clinic on campus followed by a brief concert that evening.
David Groth, vocal music director from Lafayette High School, was eager to send 15 of his students to participate in the Honor Choir.
“I think it’s great that Missouri Western is reaching out to the area high schools. It is excellent for our students to get involved with the university choirs and get the opportunity to sing with some of the best singers in Northwest Missouri. I am really excited for our students to have the opportunity,” Groth said. “I am hoping they will be able to see how different ensembles rehearse on the collegiate level and that they will bring those kind of ideas back to class.”
The music department uses outreach programs such as the Honor Choir to encourage the continuation of musical education for high school students, as well to advertise the university.
Director of Chorale Studies and Music Education Elise Hepworth is enthusiastic about getting high school students involved at Western and bringing in potential students.
“This is a wonderful recruiting opportunity for the university. The students do a better job [promoting the university] than I do. I want to get the word out that Missouri Western is a great place to go to school and a great place to sing if you enjoy singing,” Hepworth said. “This is a wonderful chance to bring people to the campus that wouldn’t normally come to campus. Any time we can get high school students or parents on this campus it is a great way to recruit and show what we have to offer.”
The students spent their afternoons with the Western Concert Chorale and Chamber Singers working at various rehearsals and sectionals to prepare for the concert that evening. Lamont Broomfield, a member of the concert chorale, was excited to meet the high school students and help them throughout the day.
“Honor Choir is an event that is being used to bring the community into Missouri Western, mainly to give high school student the opportunity to sing with the concert chorale and chamber choir and encourage them to continue their musical education,” Broomfield said. “If you truly love music, you will never step away from it and that is why I think it’s important to bring in high school students, because it will give them the opportunity to get involved with the university and show them that participating in music programs doesn’t have to stop at the high school level.”
The Honor Choir took to the stage at 7 p.m. The group performed four selections including “Walk in Jerusalem” by Dilworth, “Fanfare for a Festival” by Nelson, “Can You Hear?” by Papoulis and “A Red, Red Rose” by Mulholland.