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Men's Chorus in St. George

Submitted by tyler.lewis on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:37
Story by Cory Mendenhall.
Men's Chorus in the St. George Sun.
Men's Chorus Perform at Dixie State College.
Men's Chorus at St. George.

On February 2nd and 3rd, the Men's Chorus of Maple Mountain High School enjoyed a very successful tour to St. George Utah, where they performed for 250 Choral Music Educators from throughout the State of Utah!  As the choir traveled to St. George on the snowy morning of Friday, February 2nd, they enjoyed the opportunity to perform for the students at Juab High School in Nephi, Utah.  The choir also enjoyed a choral exchange with the Madrigal choir of Canyon View High School in Cedar City, UT, where the two groups performed their choral repertoire for one another, ending the exchange with the singing of the National Anthem, then gathering around the piano with MMHS pianist, Jonah Hadlock to sing popular favorites!  Mr. Mendenhall and Canyon View's director, Adrianne Tawa, remarked how wonderful it was to watch the students interact with one another positively through music - a common language that communicated to the heart and mind of each of the over one hundred students combined between the two schools.

The chorus then traveled to the historic St. George Tabernacle where they enjoyed a tour of the building and learned about the great Heritage of Southern Utah from the hands of a very knowledgeable tour guide and host.  Following the tour, the Men's Chorus performed an impromptu concert in the choir loft of the Tabernacle, and immensely enjoyed the remarkable acoustics of the building.  Following the performance, a citizen of St. George approached Mr. Mendenhall, conductor of the chorus, and asked if he could address the boys.  The students and chaperones were enlightened and enriched by the comments of the listener.  He told them (through tears) that they had changed his life, and that he had never heard a high school choir sound the way they did.  This man was especially moved when the choir performed, "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, (Madison and Caleb Hurst, soloists) and explained to our men that he had been missing a son of his own, and hearing them sing in the Tabernacle was healing.  The students were very responsive to this man's message and gratitude for them.   

Responding to a special invite from the UMEA (Utah Music Educators Association,) the Maple Mountain Men's Chorus performed at an interest session taught by Mr. Mendenhall, entitled, "Changing Male Voices in High School and Jr. High School Choir."  At the conclusion of the session, professional educators and student teachers alike from throughout the state swarmed the Men’s Chorus and shared expressions of gratitude.  Educators were given the chance to talk with the students of Maple Mountain's Men's Chorus about their daily learning habits in the MMHS choir room, rehearsal strategies and techniques, pedagogical approaches, and enthusiasm for male chorus singing.  Some of the educators in attendance remarked that based on what they felt and heard during the interest session, that the MMHS Men's Chorus needs to apply to perform for other conventions with the purpose of helping music educators improve their technique and craft in their own personal classrooms.  Such conventions might include the ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) National or Western Divisional conferences.  The next ACDA conference will be a national convention held in March 2013 in Houston, Texas.  The Maple Mountain Men's Chorus will prepare to audition as both a performance choir for the convention, as well as audition to be considered to provide an interest session, similar to the session provided at UMEA earlier this month.  

The Men's Chorus will next perform on the stage of Maple Mountain High School on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 7:00pm, along with other choirs from MMHS, Mapleton and Diamond Fork Jr. High Schools, Spanish Oaks and Mapleton Elementary, and the Mapleton Chorale.  Admission is free!

To make a donation in support of the MMHS Choral Music Department, please contact the school's Finance Office in person or by phone, at 801-794-6740, Ext. 1415.