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Music on the move

Falcon Elementary School Honor Choir was chosen to be one of only six choirs nationwide to sing at the 2005 National Children’s Choir Festival from March 17 to 19. The event will be held at Carnegie Hall in New York City.The person behind the choir’s success is Harriet Jarmon, a third-year Falcon elementary school music teacher and honor choir director, who was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Jarmon holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, a master’s degree in education from the University of Phoenix in Colorado Springs and is currently working on a doctorate through Capella University of Minnesota.Jarmon set out to make certain her choir students were committed.She first auditioned students for the choir and their regimen includes twice-a-week rehearsals before their classes begin. “Having them rehearse that early in the morning, I knew I’d get kids who were committed,” Jarmon said.Her commitment has created an awesome opportunity for the choir.Jarmon submitted an audition tape of the choir shortly after fall semester began. After a few weeks, she was notified of their acceptance, and the time since has been filled with preparation and fundraising. The choir has been practicing one and one-half hours, four days a week before school starts. The kids in the choir are required to learn and memorize eight songs, three of which are in foreign languages.Bonnie Pearson, mother of choir member Chelsey Volendorff, said talked about her daughter’s experience, which has “…provided her with a lot of dedication and a lot of self confidence. They’ve made a true commitment. It’s taught each one of the kids responsibility – they know they have to do their part.”Thirty-one members of the choir and their chaperones will fly to New York City early in the morning on March 17, when the real work begins.The students will be required to attend four workshops while continuing to learn and memorize their eight songs. Students who aren’t progressing satisfactorily will be required to attend additional rehearsals. The festival will culminate in a public performance on March 19, with all six choirs singing together under the direction of Henry Leck, an internationally known clinician.Jarmon said she is excited about the learning experience the choir will have during the workshops. “It’s not really a pleasure trip,” she said. “They (the choir) are fulfilling all but one of the music standards we have, both state and national.”Choir members and their parents are thrilled with the opportunity this honor affords the choir. Chaperone Christa Preister said, “I’m really excited to see the kids’ reaction…the goosebumps you get when you hear the combined chorus … it’ll be great to see.” Choir members Chelsey Vollendorff and Shanelle Norris noted they’ve been practicing much more lately, but they both think it will be worth it. Shanelle said, “We have to sing harder songs!” Chelsey said, “We have to practice lots more. I’m nervous, but at the same time, excited.”Brandy Raboin, mother of choir member David Raboin, feels that much credit is due to Jarmon and the choir. She said, “I could go on forever about Harriet (Jarmon). She’s so dedicated to the choir, to the kids. The kids are also dedicated and very deserving of this honor.”Organizers of the trip have planned some down time and special outings to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero and a Broadway show while they’re in the Big Apple.Funds are needed for the 31 choir members who will make the trip. Chaperones will pay their own way. A silent auction will be held Feb. 5 at Antler Creek Golf Club. The honor choir also will be giving a community performance on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m., at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, located on the southwest corner of Murray and Constitution. Donations will be accepted at the door.For more information on the silent auction, contact Valerie Cherry at 495-1394 or Brandy Raboin at 683-8333.

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