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Rock Canyon Orchestra and Choir attend CMEA

The RCHS Chamber Orchestra excitedly arrived at The Broadmoor hotel prior to their performance at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference and Clinic in January.

By Sarah Bermingham, RCHS intern writer; photos courtesy of Mira Nigudkar and Tom Maynor

In January, both the Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) Women’s Select Choir and Chamber Orchestra were selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference (CMEA) and Clinic at The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs.

Appearance at the CMEA is a huge honor to both groups, as only the best-performing groups in the state perform at this event. Mira Nigudkar, a junior violist in the RCHS Chamber Orchestra, said, “It was great to be recognized as one of the best performing arts departments in the state.” While I can attest to the hard work it took to achieve this as a violinist myself in the Chamber Orchestra, this event was incredibly rewarding to everyone involved.

RCHS Choir Director Julia Dale, RCHS Orchestra Director Benjamin Dale, RCHS Principal Andy Abner, and the RCHS administration are incredibly dedicated to the RCHS music department, which brings out the best in all of its members.

The RCHS Women’s Select Choir who performed at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference and Clinic in January.

This incredible opportunity required a lot of time and effort. For almost six months, both groups worked tirelessly to perfect their music. Kaelyn New, a junior in the Women’s Select Choir said, “Preparation for CMEA put a heavy responsibility on everyone to make sure everything was just right.” While “just right” included playing or singing the right notes, the music also had to have huge amounts of passion to truly be perfect. Nigudkar explained, “We couldn’t play like machines; we had to play like people. Putting our hearts in this music and playing it perfectly was tough.”

In addition to being challenging, the music chosen was incredibly meaningful to each group. This is especially true for the song “Hands” performed by Women’s Select Choir. It was written in memory of former RCHS registrar, Polly Poindexter (see related story in the January issue of The Connection). Tyler Tankersley, a member of Women’s Select Choir and Castle Pines resident, shared that her favorite piece was a song dedicated to peace after the Hiroshima bombing and the death of a young Japanese girl. Tankersley said, “Upon first listening to it, I was overcome with emotion. It brought us to tears during each run through.”

The Chamber Orchestra performed a study of serenades. The songs played included one dedicated to a Colorado music teacher and one composed by Alex LaMotte, a RCHS sophomore violinist. RCHS senior violinist Taylor Smith explained the importance of this performance stating, “Music is ingrained into my soul and getting a chance to play for others that experience music like I do was life-changing.”

In the end, both performances were a huge success. Both groups were amazing and received immediate standing ovations!

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