The Midland University Choir had the distinction of performing at the Nebraska Music Educators Convention on November 18 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Midland was one of a handful of state universities selected to perform at the convention after auditioning in the spring.
The choir was conducted by Joel Johnston, director of vocal music. Katherine Turner played the role of collaborating pianist and Korynne Bolt played cello on one of the selections. Joe Smrdel, graduate vocal music assistant, provided assistance during the performance.
“I think our students felt great about our performance,” said Johnston. “It was a good crowd and they were very receptive. I also heard a lot of good comments from other directors. It’s nice for our students to go on a big stage and perform and they were very comfortable and well prepared.
The choir performed four selections (Identities, Beati Quorum Via, Invictus, Call Across) during his 25-minute performance. “The music we have selected identifies with the way people navigate the world,” said Johnston. “What’s unique about Midland is that we collaborate so much between the choir, the theater and the group. We like to choose selections with a theatrical element. We don’t just want to stay there, we want to connect with the audience.
Call through, the final selection performed by the choir, featured choir members approaching the audience and using sign language during the performance. The solos were provided by Jenna Schroeder, Olivia Engel, Madi Becker and Renzellous Brown. Kyler Peetz was the percussionist. “The final piece is based on people all over the world calling each other,” Johnston said. “Dan Hays (theater director) helped us with sign language and it was a great way to be even more inclusive.”
The three-day NMEA conference allowed Midland Music Education students to visit sessions, attend choir rehearsals across high school states, and hear other bands perform during concert sessions. “It’s a great experience for our students to be surrounded by other music education students, as well as conductors and directors of other programs,” said Johnston.
Midland Arts is gearing up for a pair of holiday concerts in early December. The Clef Dwellers and Freshtones, two a cappella groups, will perform at the Milady Coffeehouse on December 2nd. The Colors of Christmas show takes place on December 5 at the Wikert Event Center and will feature Midland Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Clef Dwellers, Freshtones and dance team.