Students from New England School participated in two different honor choirs at Dickinson State University during the month of October.
By RACHEL BOCK
Students from New England School participated in two different honor choirs at Dickinson State University during the month of October. Eleven students in the fifth and sixth grade from New England participated in the North Dakota chapter of American Choral Directors Association’s ‘Surround the State in Song’. Surround the State in Song is a volunteer Honor Choir that joins fifth and sixth grade students from around the State. Students gather together in the towns of Dickinson, Bismarck, Minot, Jamestown, Fargo, and Grand Forks for one day. During the day the students learn and rehearse five songs by a guest conductor and at the end of the day the children from all over North Dakota each perform a concert at the six North Dakota locations at the same exact time giving the name of the concert Surround the State in Song.
The New England students were part of the 72-student voice choir from Southwest North Dakota that gathered together on Oct. 8 at Dickinson State University. New England music teacher Conway Heupel has had students that have participated in Surround the State in Song for seven years. Last year Heupel was honored with being the guest conductor for the Dickinson location.
“It was really neat, and I had a lot of fun,” Heupel said. The day went extremely fast and I had a total blast with it.”
On Oct. 12, also at Dickinson State University, nine boys from the New England School Choir joined other male students from Dickinson High, Trinity High, Bowman, Killdeer, Richardton-Taylor, Hebron, and Harding County (South Dakota) to participate in “Real Men Sing,” an honor choir for boys in grades eighth through 12th. During the choir festival the students rehearse five to six songs during the day and the conductor also helps the students with voice coaching and vocal health.
To end the day the all-male choir performed at Hawks Point in Dickinson. This is the first year that New England has participated in Real Men Sing honor choir.
For Heupel, having students participate in both honor choirs helps with the building of his own music program in New England. Heupel feels that the experiences that his students gain by participating in the volunteer choirs not only makes those students better, but that those students bring something new to his classroom that they pass on to the other students around them.
“This builds up our program from as young as we can, and it gives those students an experience along with different opportunities.” Heupel said. “It gives them the opportunities to sing with people that really want to be there. What those students do there, that leadership that they learn they bring it back here and they are just that much stronger.”