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Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Students who won the Maestro award such as Sarah Upshaw, ’23, went on stage to receive their award, April 6.

JH choir, band, Cantiamo choir and Bellezza ensemble attend the Worldstrides Heritage Festival in Anaheim, April 5-7. The festival provides the music departments to showcase pieces of music they have been practicing throughout the school year.

All three choirs were able to achieve Gold awards at a 90 or above rating. Out of three different judges, 92-95 was the average scores for the choirs. The judges not only critiqued the choir’s singing but also the way they presented as a group on stage. The scored covered ten different music standards. The Gold rating provides an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in a Gold Festival.

One of the awards won at the festival was the “Choral Sweepstakes” award. This reflected a combined score award.

Approximately one-sixth of FCS students participate in HS, JH choir or band. This differs from the rest of the schools at the festival who had over a 1,000 students in their high school.

Choir director Susan Ainley shares how the “Choral Sweepstakes” award proves the music program is comparable to larger public school choirs.

“All the other choirs competing in this festival were from 3A schools,” Ainley said, “meaning a population of 1,200 students or higher. So, that award (Choral Sweepstakes) was special because it validates our music program, even though we are a small school.”

Two students where also awarded individually at during the award ceremony. Junior Lindsay Weimer was given the ‘Time to Start Dreamin’ award because of her inspirational story and connection to music. Eighth grader Sarah Upshaw received the Maestro award for her solo in one of the JH music pieces.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

HS students showcase the four awards earned at the World Strides Heritage Festival., April 11.

Ainley shares why she chose Weimer to nominate for the ‘Time to Start Dreamin’ award and her excitement having her in choir and ensemble.

“I nominated Lindsay for the ‘Time to Start Dreamin’ award because I witnessed her fierce determination to not just beat that dreaded disease,” Ainley said, “but to continue with her actual life while in treatment. She was and is an inspiration to me as a teacher, and I’m so glad I get to keep her for another year in ensemble!”

She continues to talk about Weimer along with Upshaw as examples in her music department.

“My JH choir is filled with lovely voices, and Sarah Upshaw is a fine example of that,” Ainley continues. “She is blessed with natural talent for sure, but she is so enthusiastic about learning music, and she is a joy to teach. Seeing both Lindsay and Sarah on stage receiving their awards was a proud moment for me as a teacher. Of course it’s great to have our school’s music program recognized, but I know both of these students to be quality people who work for every achievement.”

Choir’s next performance will be the national anthem at a Fresno Grizzlies baseball game, May 2. Soon after, ensemble and Cantiamo choir will perform a home ‘Spring Concert’, May 6. The last performance for all choirs takes place during high school graduation, May 23.

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