Elementary honor choir tours District 11 schools

by Sue Austreng
Staff Writer

With energetic renditions of “Jubilate,” “Colors of America,” “Puttin’ On the Ritz” and more, the Blaine Cluster Honors Choir thrilled local audiences last week.

The Blaine Cluster Honors Choir performed Jan. 27 at Andover Elementary School, one stop in its tour of nine Anoka-Hennepin schools last week. Photo courtesy of Cathy Yseth

The honors choir is made up of 94 auditioned singers from Sand Creek, Andover, Eisenhower, Johnsville, Jefferson, Madison, McKinley and University Avenue elementary schools.

Over the course of 10 weeks, the talented young voices rehearsed at Northdale Middle School under the direction of Cathy Yseth, Eisenhower Elementary School music specialist.

On Jan. 25 and 27, the honors choir toured each of its own home schools, voicing a crescendo when they took the stage at Blaine High School for an evening concert Jan. 26.

The list of songs the group performed included “Jubilate” by Dave and Jean Perry; “Now is the Month of Maying” by Thomas Morley; “Cross the Wide Missouri” arranged by Don Besig and Nancy Price; “Colors of America” by Jill Gallina; “Erie Canal” arranged by Robert DeCormier; “Des Colores” arranged by Mark Weston; “Elijah Rock” arranged by Roger Emerson; “Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Irving Berlin; and “Young People of the World” by local composer Glen Everhart.

“The principals from the elementary schools help support the group with funding, but the students pay a $25 tuition to be in the group,” Yseth said.

“(The choir members) are very talented and it has been a pleasure to be their director,” said Yseth, who enjoys her first year as director of the honors choir, following in the talented footsteps of Carolyn Kennedy, music specialist at Sand Creek, who directed the group for the past dozen years.

Student director for the group is Valerie Krych. Mary Powell serves as accompanist and Amy Moore is the group’s flutist while Kristin Rode serves as choir manager.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]