Ralston students learned that with determination and a love for music, they can go far.
For the first time in Ralston history, fourth and fifth grade students from across Ralston Public Schools will take part in the Nebraska Music Education Association’s 2019 Children’s Choir.
On Nov. 21, 18 Ralston students will perform at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts in Lincoln with 332 other children from across the state.
The following students were selected: Lucy Chavez, Elias Godinez-Chan, Isa Martinez, Lily Johnson, Karlie Stutzka, Baylee Bendon-Zook, Madison Orsi, Adelyn Cleveland, Ava Dannehl, Cillian Kerrigan, Emane Tchabode, Jaelynn Bullock, Horizynne Jackson-Harrington, John Fugate, Ayden Calbert, Xavier Bruno, Emefa Aclinou and Arianna Miranda.
Vicki Fischer, music teacher at Mockingbird Elementary, said RPS decided to take part in the choir for the first time because it was a good opportunity for students.
“They don’t know what they are in for yet,” she said. “I think they will be a little overwhelmed when they get to Lincoln because it’s a lot of kids.”
To be selected, students had to turn in an application to their school music teacher and sing “My Country Tis of Thee.”
Then, music teachers from each elementary school dwindled their selection and made their decision. Teachers were allowed to selected one choir member per every 50 fourth and fifth grader at the school.
Since September, students have been practicing once a week after school with their classmates.
“They are doing a really great job of practicing and coming to rehearsals after school,” Fischer said.
With six songs to memorize, Fischer said there is a lot of work that goes into the Children’s Choir.
“The music is tough. These aren’t your typical folk songs you might learn in music class. They’re really being challenged with having to look at a musical score, follow two separate parts and are reading musical notation,” she said.
In Lincoln, the students will perform the following songs: “Sing to me,” by Andrea Ramsey, “Tongo,” by Greg Gilpin, “A Child of Songs,” “Calico Cat,” “Riversong” and “Let There Be Peace,” all by Andy Beck.
One song is in Latin while another is from the Polynesian Islands.
Through this process, students are also learning how to read music.
“They are reading a whole new language basically,” Fischer said. “They have been working really hard to rise to the occasion.”
The day of the concert, students will be in and out of rehearsals from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. followed by their concert performance at 4.
As an educator, Fischer said it is good to see students’ hard work pay off.
“I’m excited for them to see 350 other kids who love music and what that can provide for them in the future in what they want to do,” she said.
She is also happy to watch each student grow.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know kids more on a personal basis,” Fischer said. “It’s been nice getting to fulfill their love of music.”
While this is the first year RPS selected students for the choir, Fischer said she is already looking forward to taking part next year.
“It’s just a really great opportunity for kids to be more involved in music not only at school but outside of school,” she said.