by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
From purely a state-level prestige perspective the honor bestowed upon the Rockford High School’s (RHS) Women’s Chorus last Friday afternoon was perhaps greater than what might be garnered by the football team winning, yet another, state high school football championship.
Echoing a sentiment heard over and over again, Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) President-Elect Doug Armstead said, “This is a really, really big deal.” Amstead was speaking about RHS Women’s Chorus being only one of five chorus’ selected to perform at the 2012 Michigan Music Conference (MMC) held in Grand Rapids last Thursday – Saturday.
“When one takes into consideration that only five high school chorus’ were chosen from 600 high schools across the entire state of Michigan the honor to appear takes on a very special meaning,” said Armstead.
Just prior to the start of the RHS Women’s Chorus program, it was announced that RHS Vocal Music Educator and Women’s Chorus Director Mandy Makita Scott, herself, was to be further honored. We learned Scott had been awarded the Carolyn F. Leep Scholarship by MSVMA and had been chosen by her peers, in a statewide ballot, to be the 2014 State Honors Choir Conductor. She will rehearse and conduct a 100+ voice elite high school women’s chorus at the MMC conference in January 2014. This is widely considered one of the highest honors that a high school conductor in Michigan can receive. High honors indeed for this Rockford resident.
Performing in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott, before a standing room only audience upwards of 700, the Women’s Chorus then opened a flawless 5-selection program. At times Conference Pianist Dr. Kenneth Bos, Grand Rapids Symphony Principal Cellist Alicia Eppinga, and RHS student Percussionists Aaron Bainbidge, Spencer Gordon, Tylor Hoekstra, Jason Ibarra, and Zach Kidder, accompanied the Chorus.
Your reporters hearts swelled with “Rockford Pride” as the talented young women of the Chorus closed the afternoon’s performance with their beautiful rendition of Michigan Composer Jeffrey Cobb’s We are the Music Makers.
You really should have been there and enjoyed, along with us, the rousing applause of everyone in attendance that afternoon.