Music education is strong and thriving in the Niceville community where four elementary school students were accepted for participation in one of two All-State elementary music ensembles. Students selected to attend were Trey Bruse, Bluewater Elementary; Madeleine Hinze, Bluewater Elementary; Addison Molendyke, Bluewater Elementary School; and Jordan Wenner-Foy, Lewis School (not pictured).
The students will perform with the FMEA All-State Elementary Chorus in Tampa, January 14 or 15, 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center. The students were chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive audition process among over 800 elementary students from all across Florida. Congratulations to Trey, Madeleine, Addison, and Jordan. The students’ teachers Kara Bell and Suzanne Hartzog are all members of the Florida Music Educators Association and the Florida Elementary Music Educators Association.
The FMEA All-State Elementary Chorus is a unique music education opportunity for Florida students. Elementary school students with unchanged voices in 4th and 5th grades are eligible to audition. The Seventeenth FMEA All-State Elementary Chorus will be under the direction of Dr. Don Ester. Dr. Ester is a professor of music education at Ball State University. He is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for choirs of all ages. He has conducted All-State Children’s Choirs in Indiana, South Dakota, and Colorado. Since 1990 he has presented over 150 clinics throughout the nation and served as guest conductor for over 100 festival choirs. Two hundred elementary singers will perform with the FMEA All-State Elementary Chorus at the Tampa Convention Center January 14, 2016 at 1:45 PM. Robert Todd, the All-State Elementary Chorus Coordinator noted that, “Dr. Ester has selected a rigorous program certain to appeal to varied musical tastes. In addition, FEMEA has commissioned composer/arranger Mark Patterson to write a piece specifically to be premiered at the concert in honor of this year’s singers.”
The inaugural performance of the first All-State Orff Ensemble in the nation will take place at the Tampa Convention Center January 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM. This new ensemble provides opportunities for elementary musicians to showcase standards-based music skills and techniques – such as instrumental performance, movement/dance, improvisation, and singing – all elements of the principles of Orff Schulwerk. Developed by famed composers Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, Orff Schulwerk is an approach to music teaching and learning based on things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and play instruments. A traditional Orff Ensemble features young musicians singing, chanting, dancing, improvising, and playing instruments such as recorders and student-sized melodic percussion instruments, known as Orff instruments, designed by Carl Orff. FEMEA Immediate Past President, Julie Hebert, who championed the development of this new ensemble, said, “students selected for participation in the FMEA All-State Orff Ensemble demonstrated outstanding skills and techniques in all Orff-Schulwerk principles. Florida has long been a national leader in new music education initiatives. With so many of Florida’s elementary music educators using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to teach music, it seems fitting that we are the first state in the nation to offer an All-State Orff Ensemble for students. FEMEA is beyond thrilled to provide this new performance opportunity for Florida’s outstanding young musicians.”
The FEMEA President, Marie Radloff, said, “I am so proud of the achievements of these outstanding students and their dedicated music teachers. The FMEA All-State experience brings these young musicians together in one place, and affords them the opportunity to work and perform with each other in a very rarified, artistic environment, under the leadership of master clinicians. I have no doubt that the artistry these students will achieve in January will be truly remarkable, and that their All-State experience will be one they will treasure for the rest of their lives.”