The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Choir camp students set to perform


Courtesy photo

Clovis High School music teacher Peggy Brady, at piano, assists sopranos this week in rehearsing a Handel song to be performed this afternoon at the conclusion of Eastern New Mexico University's annual choir camp for students across the state.

PORTALES - After a week of camp, almost 150 students from across the state will "raise the roof" this afternoon with a choral concert at Eastern New Mexico University.

The 2 p.m. show at the campus' music building, Buchanan Hall, will feature solos from each voice class (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) and group performances of an "eclectic repertoire" of seven selections ranging from Handel to "Remember Me," from the Pixar film "Coco," and a Swahili rendering of the Lord's Prayer, said music professor Jason Paulk.

The event is the culmination of a week of intensive work for 140 high school students and 30 staff at the university's annual choir music camp, a "long held tradition" with roots dating back to the 1960s, Paulk said.

"They got here Sunday about noon and they've been working all week, from sunup to sundown," he said.

"It's a really wonderful opportunity for kids who are passionate about singing and music and want to get better. We're in a day and age when people aren't focused on creative outlets so much. To see this many kids fired up about making great music is inspiring."

For some of the students, this week marks the first time singing with more than eight or 10 classmates at their respective high schools, which ranged from Albuquerque and Santa Fe to Carlsbad, Farmington, Gallup and Artesia.

During the week, students practiced in group and small settings on a variety of techniques through voice lessons and classes on sight-singing, ear training, conducting and composition.

One exercise in breath strength involved the four different vocal groups competing to see who could keep an inflated balloon aloft with their air alone.

"After about 20 seconds, only the basses had their balloon in the air," ENMU vocal coach and accompanist Kayla Paulk wrote in a message to The News. "They were still going strong at one minute/45 seconds, and we called it quits. Lots of hot air in the bass section!"

The camp is put on by ENMU and students stayed each night at the dorms, part of an experience Jason Paulk hopes will give them insight to possibilities for higher learning.

"It's a really neat opportunity for them to experience a little bit of what it's like to go to college, and we like to think it helps prepare them mentally and psychologically for what's next in life," he said.

In the meantime, the group intends to bring down the house today.

Or as the music professor stated, "it's really going to raise the roof on Buchanan."


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