Nine students will represent Christian Fellowship School in the Honor Choir Festival at Murray State University.
The students are:
Kailey Hicks, Rebekah Muller and Bettye Starkey, eighth grade;
Anna Lewis, Coley Maness, Karlee Phillips and Elizabeth Whitt, seventh grade;
Sarah Muller and Blayne Starkey, sixth grade.
Sandy Hummel is director of the choir, which was added to CFS’s musical curriculum this year. The choir includes 25 students who have been rehearsing a variety of choral selections.
They performed as part of the CFS Veterans Day program conducted Wednesday.
“I am excited to take my students to the Honor Choir Festival at MSU,” Hummel said. “The honor choirs are comprised of some of the most talented choral students in this region, and these students have also demonstrated a dedication to excellence.”
The Honor Choir Festival, sponsored by the Kentucky Music Educators Association, First District Teachers, has been held at MSU for at least 19 years, according to Dr. Brad Almquist.
Almquist expects some 15 elementary schools and 12 middle schools from western Kentucky, with more than 350 elementary students and 150 middle school students, to participate.
“They will gather for the day, rehearse with a master teacher-conductor and then present a concert in the early evening,” Almquist said. The concert is at 6:30 p.m.
Hummel, who has a music education degree from Louisiana State University, says she originally intended to become a middle school band director, but instead became a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her five children.
“I never imagined I would have the opportunity to teach in a school setting again, but I continued to pursue my love of music by teaching in the worship ministry in our church, the Reidland Church of Christ, and by encouraging my kids’ musical pursuits in piano and in the Paducah Symphony Children’s Chorus,” she said.
As her eldest son began preparing for college, Hummel says her family encouraged her to consider a teaching position, and she found an opportunity at CFS, where she teaches fifth grade.
“When I was hired, I asked our principal, Bill Rowley, about the possibility of beginning a choir program at CFS,” she said.
“CFS has a wonderful elementary music program taught by Karen Greer, so there is already a strong musical foundation at the school to build upon. Choir is also such a natural part of a Christian school, since so much of our worship involves music and singing.”
Help has come from a number of sources, Hummel said.
“Dr. Brad Almquist, director of choirs at Murray State, has come to work with the choir twice since the beginning of school, and my students love him,” she said.
“Elaine Shurley at Marshall County High and Matt Hinz at Ballard County Middle and High have patiently answered questions, offered suggestions and lent me music. I am so appreciative of all their help, which has given me the encouragement and confidence to meet these new challenges.”
Hummel hopes the program will grow upward with this first group of students, into a high school choral music opportunity at CFS, and provide a stimulus to the elementary program already in place.
“Mrs. Hummel has done a wonderful job of beginning the middle school choir at CFS,” Almquist said. “I was very impressed with the marked improvement in the singing and musicianship of the students under her direction.
“I believe that it is an added value for CFS to offer training in singing and musicianship as they strive to work for a well-rounded overall education of the students.”
At the Honor Choir Festival, Hummel said, students will have an opportunity to learn from nationally acclaimed composers and conductors.
“My hope is that my students will catch a vision of what is possible, and come back and share it with their classmates,” she said.
“I feel so blessed to share my love of music with such great kids, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.”