Bands, choirs and orchestras from around the state of Kansas will gather in Wichita later this month for an annual concert. The All-State Elementary Choir Concert will take place Feb. 22 and will feature several third- through fifth-grade students from Basehor-Intermediate School as well as Glenwood Ridge Elementary School who were selected to participate. 

This yearly event allows elementary students to experience singing with a select choir. While all elementary students participate in general music education classes, it isn’t until middle school when students who love singing have the opportunity to choose choir as an elective class. Those students experience more challenging music and tend to thrive musically as they are surrounded by other students who share their passion for singing.

Rehearsals have been taking place for the past few months and students have also been preparing for the concert at home, working to memorize music. Cindy Reynolds, music teacher for Basehor-Linwood USD 458, has been sponsoring elementary students in various honor choirs for 10 years.

“It is such a joy to work with these young singers,” Reynolds said. “We have so much fun making music together. There’s nothing quite like the goosebumps you get from a beautifully performed live concert.”

In order to participate in the state event, third- through fifth-grade students were required to try out for the choir by auditioning for Reynolds. Musical tracks were then submitted to three judges on the state level. Those judges reviewed 700-900 audition tracks submitted from around Kansas before about 100 students were selected as part of the all-state choir group.

Reynolds feels that the audition process provides a valuable experience for students who are selected as well as those who aren’t.

“I think it is a good opportunity for parents to allow their children to try for something that isn’t guaranteed. Even though it is difficult to see your child saddened if they aren’t selected, it is a prime moment to teach them about persistence and not giving up and trying again next time. It makes me most proud when there are students who weren’t previously selected who come back and try again. That shows courage and passion,” said Reynolds.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com