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Timber Trail Singers Enjoy Debut Season

The brand new Timber Trail Elementary choir held its first performance last December. TTE Music Teacher Cindy Berndt is looking forward to the spring season, which will culminate with a special year-end concert of fourth and fifth graders. (photo courtesy of Mark Wilkins)

by Lisa Crockett

Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) is still a relatively new school (it opened its doors just seven years ago) and school traditions and institutions are still taking shape. Music teacher Cindy Berndt has added the latest – a Timber Trail choir.

“This is my second year at TTE,” said Berndt, who has taught music for the last ten years. “I was ready to start the first TTE choir program.”

Berndt invited all interested fourth and fifth graders to participate. There were no auditions and no limit to how many students could participate. Fifty-one students stayed committed to the program, which required the school’s PTA to acquire additional risers to accommodate them all.

Berndt donated her instructional time during rehearsals, which were held twice a week before school, so participation in the choir was free.

“Our choir was also grateful to work with a volunteer piano accompanist, Trudi Broshat, a parent of one of our members,” said Berndt. “She offered her time and talent at every rehearsal at no charge, and the singers adored her.”

The choir’s premier event, a holiday concert held in December, included simple pieces like the traditional Shaker song “Simple Gifts,” as well as more difficult numbers like “Buy Me Chocolate,” a five-part harmony.

Because of TTE’s year-round schedule, students were not required to attend rehearsal when they were “off track.” Fifth grader Tommy Spedding came even during his time off, however, and had a perfect attendance record. That, along with his leadership and enthusiasm toward participation in the group earned him the first-ever “Directors Award,” a special recognition given by Berndt to an outstanding choir member.

“I always wanted to be at choir practice,” said Spedding. “I really like how I can express myself through music.

Berndt will open the spring season of the choir this month and the choir will begin to prepare for it’s grand finale, a year-end concert in May.

“I am so incredibly proud of my choir for not only performing so well, but for sharing their mornings with me and working so hard,” said Berndt. “This is perhaps the best program I have ever directed in all of the years I have taught music.”



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