Middle School Students Love To Sing

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In a surprisingly intimate setting, a choir of soft, angelic voices sang their friends and relatives a song about decomposed composers.

Parents, siblings and grandparents sat in chairs on Payson High School auditorium's stage to better hear their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade children perform March 6.

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The introductory choir from Rim Country Middle School sang of making a difference in the world "Step By Step" to open the concert. The Men's Chorus is pictured here singing "Loch Lomond."

"Middle schoolers love to sing, but at this age they are afraid people will hear them," Karen Phylow, Rim Country Middle School music teacher said.

"Musicians Never Die, They Just Decompose" was the amusing finale of the combined 20-member introductory choir and 13-member advanced choir.

It was full of puns. A gem that Ashley Ralston could not recall without singing went like this: "A composer named Liszt, from writing could never desist, he made polonaises, quite worthy of praises, now that he's gone he is miszt."

"It was surprising how the voices came out tonight -- better than I expected," the seventh-grader from advanced choir added.

The advanced choir sang "I Have Music In Me" as three-part solo, alto, baritone music.

There are several challenges Phylow and the voices under her direction face.

Normally, there is one boy amongst a dozen girls. Thursday night, three of those girls were absent due to illness.

When three voices of a small choir are missing, it affects the quality of the sound. If those voices are part of a section of the choir, it literally cuts the sound in half, Phylow said.

"These are not mature enough singers to switch to another part the day before a performance," she said.

Yet sing their hearts out, they did.

The melancholy, "Something Told the Wild Geese" was Andrew Henning's favorite. He came to her his older sister Destiney sing.

"The music was nice," Andrew said.

Places in advanced choir are earned.

It takes lots of effort. You really need to practice and try hard. When it is tough to sing the notes at first if you just practice, it gets easy," singer Timothy Thomas said.

He plans to continue singing choral music.

The advanced and introductory choirs each sang "Coram Deo in the Presence of God" and "Kyrie Eleison," respectively.

Choral singing stemmed from the church tradition. The latter is a typical piece in choral music that Phylow's students usually tell her they already know.

"They don't realize that different arrangements sound different," she told the audience.

Taylor (Best) has been excited about a song sung in a different language, her grandmother, Renate Croudy said before the performance.

After the show, Best said it was not hard singing "Kyrie Eleison" and she liked the song because it has "good rhythm."

She sings all the time and plans to join the advanced choir next year.

The third larger advance choir also has one young man's voice.

Phylow, who has taught music in Pine and Payson for the past 15 years said it is not unusual to have a large disparity between the number of boys and girls. The most boys she had ever had were six in a choir of 30.

The six-member Men's Chorus, formed of two bass, two tenors and two baritones, with members from the middle and high schools debuted at the concert.

"I don't know why I like to sing, but I always have," PHS music student Michael Armstrong said.

RCMS band teacher, Mike Buskirk, stepped in at the last minute for an ill singer.

The Men's Chorus sang the Celtic "Loch Lomond" and a fun rendition of "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight."

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