The Midland University Choir had the distinction of performing at the Nebraska Music Educators Convention on November 18th at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Midland was among a handful of universities across the state selected to perform at the convention after auditioning in the spring.
The choir was under the direction of Joel Johnston, Director of Vocal Music. Katherine Turner served as collaborative pianist and Korynne Bolt played the cello on one of the selections. Joe Smrdel, Graduate Assistant of Vocal Music, provided assistance during the performance.
“I think our students felt very good about our performance,” Johnston said. “It was a good crowd and they were very receptive. I also heard many great comments from other directors as well. It’s enjoyable for our students to get 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 its 25-minute performance. “The music we selected identified with how people navigate their way through the world,” Johnston said. “What’s unique about Midland is that we are so collaborative between choir, theatre, and band. We like to pick selections with a theatrical element. We don’t just want to stand there, we want to connect with the audience.”
Call Across, the final selection performed by the choir, featured choir members bringing themselves closer to the audience and using sign language during the performance. 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 across to each other,” Johnston said. “Dan Hays (Director of Theatre) 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 high school all-state choir rehearsals, and hear other groups perform during concert sessions. “It’s a great experience for our students to be around other music education students, as well as conductors and directors from other programs,” Johnston said.
Midland Arts is preparing for a pair of holiday concerts in early December. The Clef Dwellers and Freshtones, two a cappella groups, will perform at Milady Coffeehouse on December 2. The Colors of Christmas performance is set for December 5th at the Wikert Event Center and will feature the Midland Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Clef Dwellers, Freshtones, and Dance team.