Junior high choir festival a glimpse of the future


Hauser Jr. High choir students pose outside RB before attending the festival.

Jessica Van Winkle, Staff Reporter

Once a year, junior high choir students from Hauser, S.E. Gross, and Komarek make their way to RB for a day of singing, pizza and performances. This experience is often a blast from the past for RB singers who attended the exact same field trip in junior high and are now the hosts rather than the guests.

The kids arrived around 10:30 in the morning on October 17 to start their day and were greeted by a performance from the ladies of Concert Chorale, the all-female choir at RB. Once the rest of the RB singers showed up, the rehearsing began. Under the direction of Diane Marelli students went through and polished the three songs that were selected in collaboration by Marelli as well as the junior high directors. This year the songs were Swingin’ Sweet Chariot, The Water is Wide, and Someone to Believe In from Disney’s Newsies.

“I like students to have a folk song and one of the junior high teachers said they wanted to do a gospel piece. I chose the Newsies piece the previous spring. I knew everyone would love it,” Marelli said, regarding this year’s selections.

Marelli is traditionally used to working with twenty to fifty high school students, so she adjusts her teaching methods slightly when directing the younger kids.

“There could be sixth and seventh graders attending, and that is a whole different age group. I try to explain things a bit differently and I use slightly different vocabulary,” Marelli said.

The day is always very positive one for all who attend; however this year was extra special. Two a capella groups from Washington University came to perform for the choirs.

“The Hauser students felt that this was the best field trip they’ve ever been on.  Singing, pizza lunch, and performances by the a cappella groups were all highlights for the students.  It was nice for the junior high students to see what happens in high school and then even beyond that if they keep singing.  It was motivational and inspirational for our students,” Hauser choir director Laura Lynch said.

Everyone involved in the festival had something to gain. The junior high kids come from a whole different world and were in awe of the things high school students take for granted.

“My favorite part was seeing how big the school is,” SE Gross sixth grader Veronica Wigington said.

The RB singers have come a long way, yet they still have a lot to take away from the day, according to Marelli.

“I think they realize they need to take leadership and they see how much they have learned since junior high. It is a chance for them to see their growth as well as their potential,” Marelli said.

Marelli has been running this festival for 19 years and it is a tradition that has proven to be a very beneficial learning experience for all who attend.