Two Farwell 5th graders chosen for national choir

November 21, 2018

By Pat Maurer

Two Farwell Middle School fifth graders successfully auditioned and were chosen for a National Children’s Choir that will perform at the OAKE (Organization of American Kodaly Educators) National Conference March 21-24 in Columbus, Ohio.

Anna Van Buskirk and Asher Yarhouse, both choir students of Music Teacher Melissa Sapienza since 2014, were among over 1,500 youngsters who auditioned for the choirs. Sapienza said, “It is a great honor for our kids to be accepted into such a wonderful and diverse ensemble.”

Farwell Music Teacher Melissa Sapienza with Anna Van Buskirk and Asher Yarhouse who were selected for the OAKE National Choirs

Farwell Music Teacher Melissa Sapienza with Anna Van Buskirk and Asher Yarhouse who were selected for the OAKE National Choirs

“The OAKE National Choirs are made up of students from across the country,” Sapienza said. “This year a record number of students auditioned for the choirs.”
“OAKE was founded in 1975 to serve as a meeting place for music educators who embrace the Kodaly Concept of Music Education,” Sapienza said. “It draws its membership from educators of all levels, public and private, students, administrators, and others who share in its support and promotion. OAKE’s mission is to support music education of the highest quality, promote universal music literacy and lifelong music making, and preserved the musical heritage of the people of the United States of America through education, artistic performance, advocacy and research…”

The OAKE National Conference takes place each year in a different city in the U.S. There are four audition-based OAKE National Conference Choirs, each led by a nationally renowned conductor, each one for a different age group of singers.

Anna said she was looking forward to the conference and “making new friends.” Asher said he was looking forward to “seeing all of the other singers, and I am excited to sing in front of a large audience!”

Both fifth graders were very nervous about the auditions. “I felt queasy in my belly when I was auditioning, but I felt confident once I heard my recording,” Anna said.

Asher said, “I was confident when I was singing, but the felt nervous, like ‘what if I didn’t make it?’”

Anna continued, “I felt like it wasn’t even real when my Mom told me.” She said she wants to continue in choir in high school and that “I want to be a singer when I grow up and perform for people. I’ll be famous someday! I want to tell others to ‘be confident in yourself, and never give up’.”

Asher said, “My Mom told me she got the notification email, but I didn’t know right away if it said I was accepted or not. Once she said I made it, I felt very accomplished, like I just got my first car!”

He added, “I definitely want to pursue music through school and beyond.”

The next few months will be busy ones for Anna and Asher. Ms. Sapienza will be working with them on learning the music they will perform with the choir next March.

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