Students will take part in ‘Great American Sing’ concert

by TaLeiza Calloway

The Great River Chorale will present “The Great American Sing” concert this weekend with the help of some special guests. These guests include the Kennedy Colts Honor Choir from Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph and the Mustang Choir from Meadowvale Elementary in Elk River. The concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 5 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud.

Music to be presented includes folksongs such as Shenandoah and Cindy; traditional African-American spirituals including Ezekiel Saw de Wheel and Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord; songs by great American composers including Aaron Copland, Stephen Foster and Charles Ives; and patriotic favorites such as America the Beautiful and This Land is Your Land. Each of the student honor choirs will present solo sets in the concert and will join together on partner songs in addition to singing with Great River Chorale, an auditioned community choir. There will also be a few sing-a-longs for the audience to take part.

Kristen Mattick, director of the Kennedy choir in St. Joseph, says her students have worked hard for their upcoming performance. There are about 23 students who will participate.

“They’re doing an amazing job,” Mattick said. “They’re picking up the music really fast and practicing at home.”

Her students are in fifth and sixth grades. Mattick said this is their first year performing with the Great River Chorale. She was a member of the chorale a few years ago. She said the concert is a great opportunity for students to experience performing with a professional choir and to see where they can advance to someday.

Nina Laceski has been singing since she was a child. This is the 49-year-old St. Joseph resident’s first year singing with the Great River Chorale. She recently moved to Minnesota from Michigan. She sings first soprano in the Great River Chorale and is enjoying every minute of it.

“It’s fun to share the gift of music not only with each other but also with the audience,” Laceski said. “Everyone is so talented.”

Laceski said she is looking forward to the concert this weekend. She sees it as a way to celebrate musical history too.

The concert will be led by Great River Chorale artistic director and conductor Mary Kay Geston, Mattick and Samuel Eckberg, director of the Mustang Choir.  Tickets will be available at the door and all seats are general admission. For more information call 320-515-4472 or visit  Bethlehem Lutheran Church is located at 4310 C.R. 137, St. Cloud.

Great River Chorale is a 45-voice auditioned community choir based in St. Cloud that seeks to enrich the community and enhance the cultural life of central Minnesota and beyond with performances of choral music of all eras and genres. Founded in 2001, it’s dedicated to musical collaborations with arts organizations from across Minnesota. The choir has been named an official collaborative partner of the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and will perform in two concerts with the symphony as part of the SCSO’s 2013-14 concert season. Business manager Deborah Ferrell said the choir performs two concerts per season. The season runs September through May

[/media-credit] photo by TaLeiza Calloway
Kristen Mattick, director of the Kennedy Colts Honor Choir in St. Joseph, leads students in a rehearsal for the upcoming “Great American Sing” concert April 30.

[/media-credit] photo by TaLeiza Calloway
Krystalyn Newman sings April 30 during a rehearsal for “The Great American Sing” concert. The 12-year-old is one of more than 20 students from Kennedy Community School who will perform with the Great River Chorale May 5.

[/media-credit] photo by TaLeiza Calloway
Elizabeth Cao, a fifth grade student at Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph, sings during a rehearsal April 30. The 10-year-old is a member of the Kennedy Colts Honor Choir.

[/media-credit] photo by TaLeiza Calloway
The Kennedy Colts Honor Choir in St. Joseph rehearses for an upcoming concert with the Great River Chorale. Students Gavin Buersken (left to right), Eryka Jansen, Monica Rodel and Haley App sing a song April 30.

[/media-credit] photo by TaLeiza Calloway
Fifth- and sixth-grade students at Kennedy Community School practice music April 30 for an upcoming concert with the Great River Chorale. This is the first year the students will perform with the auditioned community choir.





TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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