As a sixth-grader, Bea Loeb first saw the photographs of award-winning music ensembles hanging in the choir room at Preston Middle School, inspiring her to set her sights on earning that same recognition for her choir. Now, two years later, that honor will become a reality for Loeb and other Preston choir members, who have been selected to perform at the upcoming Colorado Music Educators Association conference.
“I’ve been excited about going to this since sixth grade when I saw pictures from past CMEA groups. I was curious about it then and thought we should try to go,” said Loeb, now an eighth-grader.
Preston’s Select Choir is one of eight Poudre School District music ensembles selected to perform at the prestigious 2013 CMEA conference Jan. 23-26 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. The event is considered the musical equivalent to a state championship athletic event since only a limited number of music ensembles across the state are selected by recorded audition to perform.
“To perform in a venue like this, on a state scale, seems really fun and amazing,” said Loeb.
Other outstanding PSD music groups selected to perform at CMEA include Rocky Mountain High School Syrens Jazz Choir (director Paul Falk), Fort Collins High School Orchestra (director Matt Spieker), Preston Middle School Band (director Andrea Hollenbeck), Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School Choir (director Scott Wheeler), Cache La Poudre Elementary Choir (director Melissa Flail), McGraw International Baccalaureate Elementary Choir (director Mallory Harrison), and Traut Core Knowledge Elementary Chimes Choir (director Thomas Chen).
“This year we are enjoying a very strong showing from PSD schools at the state conference,” says Jean Johnson, Preston choir director. “We are fortunate in PSD to have a group of music educators who work very hard and challenge students to succeed at a high level… I also feel that we are lucky to live in a community that is supportive of the arts and appreciates the richness that the arts bring to the people of Fort Collins.”
At the music conference, each ensemble will give a 25-minute performance that will be viewed by Colorado music educators from elementary schools to colleges. The PSD groups have been preparing for their special performance since they were notified of their selection last fall.
“I am so very proud of the work that my students have been doing as they have prepared for this CMEA performance,” said Johnson. “The students have shown with their effort that they are willing to put in the work that is required to do their very best and to represent themselves, their school, the district, and the community at a very high level.”
Johnson said her students are both excited and a little nervous about the upcoming performance. “My students have been very involved with this process from last year's recording to this year's preparation. I do think they are a bit nervous because they understand that this is a state level honor and they want to perform well,” she said. “Nervous – yes, but very excited too.”
For specific PSD performance times at the conference, visit the CMEA website at www.cmeaonline.org.