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By Robert Rosen
Hometown Weekly Staff
On Wednesday, January 13, parents and family members of Dover-Sherborn students filled Mudge Auditorium to watch the Dover-Sherborn District Choral Festival, a very special annual event that brings together the choruses from all four schools in the district.
This event gives the elementary school students at Pine Hill and Chickering an opportunity to not only perform before their families, as well as students from the other schools, but also to watch the older students from the middle and high school perform, giving the younger students older role models to look up to and encouraging them to continue practicing music.
“Overall the performance was great success,” said Geoff Herrmann, who leads the choruses at the middle and high school. “All of the groups performed well, and showcased what they had learned throughout the year.”
Music teachers Julie Law-Linck (Chickering) and Kelly Hodge (Pine Hill) both did a phenomenal job preparing their students, most of whom were not used to performing in front of so many people. The young students from both schools nailed their songs and received loud ovations.
At the Dover-Sherborn Middle School, the sixth grade chorus performs alone, while the seventh and eighth grade chorus performs together. Both are directed by Herrmann, who is in his second year in the district and also directs the high school chorus.
For those who attend this event each year, it is great to see the middle school choruses because, while the sixth graders are just out of Pine Hill and Chickering, it is amazing to see how hard they have worked on their singing and how much they have improved in so little time, something that makes their parents and music teachers very proud.
The Dover-Sherborn High chorus, while small in numbers, really blows away the crowd each year. In addition, as the oldest students and singers to perform at the festival, the young singers from Chickering and Pine Hill really look up to the high school students. The young kids see the high school kids performing and they dream about one day performing on the Mudge Auditorium stage like they do. This is what makes this event so great.
“Our students, especially the high school students, served as great role models for our younger visiting choirs,” said Herrmann. “They really stepped up as leaders and helped to encourage the younger students through their own performance and during the rehearsal/performance of the final piece, ‘You have a Heart’ by Nick Page.
“You have a Heart” was an emotional ending to this year’s District Choral Festival, as it served as the grand finale and a tribute to longtime middle school choral teacher Marilyn Dowd, who retired last June and died in December. Students sang the song and it was described by many as a “heartfelt and meaningful” tribute to a teacher who was beloved by all of her fellow faculty and students.
“The part [of the concert] that stood out for me especially was our final song, ‘You Have a Heart,’” said Herrmann. “This song was dedicated to a beloved music teacher, Marilyn Dowd, who recently passed away. She was a great inspiration to all of her students and a main catalyst in creating the District Choral Concert. Watching all of our students from fourth grade to high school perform together in her memory was a very powerful moment.”
It was an emotional end to a special night, one that will be remembered by all in attendance.
Robert Rosen can be contacted at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @roberterosen.