Elementary Ambassador Choir selected as state’s honor choir

Courtesy photo The CMS Elementary Ambassador Choir is made up of the best choir students from each elementary school in the district. This year’s choir of about 60 students has been selected as the 2011 Elementary Honors Choir of the Year by the New Mexico Music Educators.

Liliana Castillo

They were chosen from every elementary school across the Clovis Municipal Schools district to become members of the Elementary Ambassador Choir because they were the best.

The choir of about 60 students has been chosen as the elementary honor choir for the state of New Mexico for 2011 by the New Mexico Music Educators Association.

The choir is under the direction of Brian Uerling, Ranchvale’s music teacher, and Sandia music teacher Bambi Hays.

“This has taken a lot of dedication from the students,” CMS Music Director Alan Dropps said. “They meet outside of the regular school day since they come from all the elementary schools.”

Dropps said the students have been rehearsing on Wednesday afternoons, an early release day, since September.

The choir is headed to Albuquerque for a performance in front of music educators from across the state at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Keller Hall on the University of New Mexico campus. They will perform a free show 4 p.m. today at Marshall Auditorium before they leave.

The choir will perform in front of music educators from across the state and Uerling said the students are excited and nervous.

“It’s very exciting for these kids to have this opportunity,” Uerling said. “It will be a very critical audience. They will know the difference between one choir and another.”

Uerling said that at the elementary level, students don’t get the full experience of what it’s like to be in a choir. He said students get to sing in groups but they aren’t choral in nature.

“The kids in this activity are learning to communicate with me just as I’m communicating with them and we together are communicating with the audience,” he said.

Uerling said most elementary students learn the beginnings of a topic but because these students have been singing since kindergarten, they can create an “amazing experience.”

Students in the ambassador choir audition at their school and are recommended by their teacher.

The ambassador choir participated in a blind audition to be named the 2011 Honor Choir of the Year for New Mexico.

“They are selected on their merits,” Dropps said.

Dropps said the CMS music program is successful for multiple reasons. First, he said, each elementary school has a certified music teacher. A certified music teacher has at least a bachelor’s degree in music education from an accredited university and must apply for certification from the state.

Second, Dropps said the district and the community support the music program.

Dropps said the Clovis Elementary Ambassador Choir has been chosen as the honor choir of the year two times before, in 1998 and 2006.

Fast facts

What: Clovis Municipal Schools Elementary Ambassador Choir show

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Marshall Middle School Auditorium

Admission: Free