Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. At the end of the choir concert, parents looked at each other and asked, “How does she do that?”
They were referring to Nederland Middle Senior High School’s music and theater director Liz Evans’ ability to transform their reticent pre-teens and teens into singers who own the stage and enjoy every minute of it.
Last Thursday’s December Choir Concert showcased the middle school choirs, the rookies, the unseasoned singers who can suddenly hit the right notes and are in charge of their own body language in the bits of choreography introduced into the numbers.
The sixth, seventh and eighth graders, a large group, over 50 of them, are learning the basics of singing together, but on concert night, they looked like they had been doing it for years.
Evans sets a standard that brings excellence to each performance by inspiring the students to do their best while having a good time. Some of the students want to continue their exploration into the performance world and they join the Festival Choir, a group that takes on the more difficult harmonies and lyrics.
The kids who want to be part of the cream of the crop audition for the Loquations, NMSHS’s competition choir, which travels all over the state performing in front of judges and large audiences.
Some of the Loquations have gone on to careers related to their musical background on the Ned stage.
Last week’s concert was a blend of fun Christmas songs, jazz songs sung in a foreign language and solemn ponderings about love, loss and the beauty of winter.
The concert began with the Loquations and the Festival Choir singing together the introductory song, “Come to the Music.”
The concert ended with the “Carol of the Bells,” a traditional ditty that sticks in the brain for weeks, but which is performed by joining all the choirs, sixth through 12th grades in a spectacular conclusion.
As the students lined up in the hallways to receive accolades from parents and friends, their proud grins were as big as a half moon.
Performing well in front of a hometown audience is as good as it gets.