NCC Choral Festival Features 611 Voice Choir
Six hundred eleven students from 15 Northern California Conference schools joined together to participate in the bi-annual NCC choral festival, held March 4-6. Lodi Adventist Elementary hosted this year’s festival, and the final choral performance was held at the Lodi-Fairmont church.
The choir clinician was Elizabeth Waterbury, an instructor of vocal and choral music at Shasta College and a recipient of the Hayward Award for Excellence in Education. Lodi Adventist Elementary music teacher Claudia Trenchuck coordinated the event, working with a team of parent, church and school volunteers.
“The clinician was extremely engaging and knowledgeable, keeping my kids focused even though some of the pieces were quite challenging,” said Diana Hardin, Redding Adventist Academy music teacher. “The organization of this event was unbelievable, given the record number of kids in attendance. Claudia did an incredible job.”
After learning the songs and practicing on their school campuses, the junior high students came together at the church on Thursday for a full-day group rehearsal (and a lunch complete with a special dessert). The next day, the high school students did the same.
The choirs traveled from as far as Redding, Ukiah, Chico, Paradise, Auburn and the surrounding Napa Valley areas, and they came from as close by as Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Placerville and Sacramento. Music teachers Tim Hansen (Paradise Adventist Academy), John Osio (Pine Hills Adventist Academy) and Michael Spencer (Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy) provided piano accompaniment.
On Sabbath afternoon, junior and senior high students came together at 3:30 p.m. to practice the two songs they were to perform as a combined choir in the program. The festival concert began at 5 p.m.
The students’ voices filled the church with exuberance as they sang works by artists such as Shaw, Tindley and Hayes. The singers stood shoulder to shoulder, filling the front of the church and spilling into the surrounding areas. Family and friends packed the church to overflowing, including the balcony, with additional onlookers standing at the back.
“This was the first time that our school participated, and my students thought it was a wonderful musical experience,” said Ruth Wright, music teacher at Hilltop Christian School. “They enjoyed all the songs, but their favorite was ‘With a Voice of Singing.’”
“Choir festival this year was a truly awesome experience for my students. I told them that they owed themselves the experience of singing in a huge choir, and they said I was right,” said Redwood Adventist Academy music teacher Glenda Purdy. “They really enjoyed singing many of the songs, including ‘Kyrie’ and ‘Storm is Passing Over.’ One of the phrases that I hear the most was: ‘That wasn’t long enough!’”