Two Worcester Children’s Choir (WCC) students, Julia Willard and Angelina Riendeau, were selected to perform in the honors choirs of the 2017 Organization of American Kodály Educators’(OAKE) National conference. The concert took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from March 23 through the 26th culminating with a performance in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
According to the conference organizers, the Kodály concept:
- Is a philosophy of education and a concept of teaching.
- Is a comprehensive program to train basic musical skills and teach the reading and writing of music.
- Is an integration of many of the best ideas, techniques, and approaches to music education.
- Is an experience-based approach to teaching.
One of the performers is Auburn, Massachusetts’s own ten-year-old Juliana Willard, who attends Swanson Road Intermediate Elementary School. Julian notes that she recently began private voice lessons through a partnership with the WCC at the Pakachoag Music School.
With the tremendous pressure that comes with participating in the honors choir, Julia uses relaxing techniques before her performances: “I have several stress balls that I squeeze and my family cheers me on, and helps me relax,” she explains. Juliana is extremely dedicated, singing in the school choir every Monday, participating in music class twice per week, and attending WCC practice every Wednesday for an hour.
“I also sing all day long,” she adds.
Her many hours of practice resulted in her selection to perform in the honors choir.
“My mom showed me the email and I cried. I was so happy,” Juliana recollected on being asked how she felt when she was asked to participate in the honors choir.
Juliana has made a number of new friends at the WCC and the OAKE Conference, and enjoys being around people who share her passion.
Juliana reflects on the personal growth she has made being in the choir.
“It has taught me that I can make a difference, no matter how small, to a person’s life,” she shares. “Singing is something I do when I am nervous and stressed out and it has helped me overcome many fears.” Juliana has big dreams and aspirations for her future, noting that she hopes she does something “to change the world.”
Participation in the OAKE Notational Honors Choirs in possible through WCC’s Associate Director Phil Montgomery’s membership in OAKE (the Organization of American Kodály Educators). Students are selected by audition.
This year over 400 students from around the country participated in Philadelphia. The conference is held in a different city each year. Other cities have included: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Long Beach, California. Next year’s OAKE conference will be in Oklahoma City.