Carson schools sing in harmony

Students from four Carson City elementary schools and Carson Middle School joined voices Tuesday evening for a concert.

"I like choir," said Andrew Hill, a Fritsch Elementary fifth-grader at the Carson City Community Center. "I like to sing and it's fun being with my friends and singing in a group."

Fourth- and fifth-graders from Bordewich-Bray, Fritsch, Empire and Fremont elementary schools met two to three times a week before school at their individual sites to practice for the performance.

They came together with choir students from Carson Middle School Tuesday morning to practice as a group.

Music selections included folk, patriotic, classical and a novelty piece.

"Even though you have to work really hard, you get to perform like this, so it's worth it," said Kim Neff, a fifth-grader at Fritsch Elementary.

Sandra Irvin, music teacher at Bordewich-Bray Elementary, said students involved in choir are often the top students.

"My experience with choir kids is that they are real achievers. They're self-motivated," Irvin said. "They're the leaders of tomorrow."

She said during Christmas she took the choir students to sing at a retirement home. She said that without any suggestion from teachers, the students approached her to ask if they could mingle with the elderly residents after the performance.

"Instead of being afraid of going and talking to them, they were very excited about it," Irvin said. "They're really a nice group."

Zac Lawrence, a fifth-grader at Empire Elementary, said he moved to Carson City about five months ago from Las Vegas. He said he was involved in choir in Las Vegas so he decided to join in Carson City as well.

"I was expecting it to be like my old choir," he said. "It's actually better. Our music teacher is more organized and he teaches us stuff about singing and music at the same time."

Irvin said many elementary students become involved in the choir, but only Carson Middle School has a music program at the school.

"What happens is that we have all these kids excited about singing and the ones that go to Eagle Valley Middle School, there's nothing there for them," Irvin said.

Nancy Mielke, choir teacher at Carson Middle School, said music classes are an important part of the school's curriculum.

"One of the few classes in school that deals with non-verbal communication and stage presence," Mielke said. "It always requires teamwork. It heightens students' awareness of pitch and improves their speaking voice."

She said the classes concentrate on vocal health because it is a time when students are changing from their child voices to their adult voices.

Mielke said more students become involved in the music program every year.

"Our program has been constantly growing for six years," she said.

She said the program has almost 80 students in three choir classes this year.


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