One by one they approached the front of the Davison Middle School Choir room. Alone and standing in front of their peers and two music teachers, each student had 60 seconds to sing their favorite tune, a cappella. Some sang with heads down and their eyes closed ... others with arms wide open, performing like Broadway stars. From Disney favorites to Amazing Grace, students gave their all to be selected for a new program, the Mezzo Voce honors choir.
The idea for the Mezzo Voce after-school honors choir came from Garth Starr, music instructor at Hahn Intermediate, and Michelle Wilson, music instructor at Davison Middle School. The goal of the program is to provide students, in fifth through eighth grades, the chance to develop advanced choral music skills through high quality choral literature and sight-reading training. Better yet, it's an opportunity for students who are unable to have choir in their daily school schedule to participate.
"This program is focused on the talented and gifted musicians in the middles grades," said Starr. "The community already has groups for all students to experience quality music. But Mezzo Voce gives musically gifted students in the middles grades the chance to sing music in groups of equal ability and to further challenge them musically."
About 50 students will be selected for the Mezzo Voce choir. Instruction will include warm-ups designed to foster healthy vocal development and technique, as well as literature that covers a variety of time periods, genres, and cultures. An atmosphere of professionalism and creativity will be fostered in students through each rehearsal and performance, said Starr.
"We will also travel to Western Michigan University to work with their choral director, and then perform in a local concert with another performance group," said Wilson. "This will showcase the talents of the Davison students to college music professors. The choir will also prepare for local concerts, choral festival experiences, and other singing opportunities."
The program is funded by a $3,000 grant from the Davison Community Fund and Youth Initiative Program Fund.