Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Megan LeBlanc | The Feather Online

Choir students were originally to perform at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, March 29. The choir trip is canceled, March 16.

UPDATE: March 16

In response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s California school closures and subsequent announcement by FCS Superintendent Jeremy Brown to a campus transition to alternative learning model due to COVID-19, the upcoming choir trip to Nashville, TN, to participate in the WorldStrides Festival of Gold is canceled, March 16.

Further communications about school news and updates are forthcoming, and may initially be daily. Parents and students are encouraged to open their email inboxes as information and instructions are forthcoming. If after receiving the email, FCS community members are encouraged to send their questions or communication via

Original article: March 15

Members of the campus choirs, both concert and chamber, will be traveling to Nashville, TN, to attend the WorldStrides Festival of Gold, March 23-30. After their gold level performances at last year’s Anaheim festival, the choir received an invitation to attend this year’s event. 

From last year’s 2019 WorldStrides Anaheim festival, all three choirs, middle school, concert choir and girls’ ensemble, earned an average score of 95 from three judges.

The Festival of Gold is an elite event, with only those choirs earning a gold rating attending. The Festival is divided into several events. Each choir (as well as orchestras and concert bands) from all over the United States will perform and receive critiques and ratings from National Conductors. 

Megan LeBlanc | The Feather Online

For the first time in school history, the campus choral program is headed to Nashville in late March. The chamber choir performed during December 2019 in the Peoples Church auditorium.

The choir will also have a one hour clinic the day before the performance with their adjudicator, who listens and gives advice to each group. This year’s adjudicator is Dr. Craig Jessop, of Utah State University, former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Fresno Christian will send it’s chamber choir to several rehearsals during the week; they will sing with other honor choir members in preparation for the performance. Finally, all the groups will perform on Sunday at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a 30,000 sq. ft. concert hall in the new classical architectural style, March 29.

Campus choir director Susan Ainley, along with her choir students, are excited for the opportunities before the performance such as visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry and a visit Dollywood.

“FC students will spend the days before the festival soaking up Music City’s atmosphere through various sightseeing opportunities,” Ainley said. “We will visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, and see a live show there as well. We also are going to Dollywood!” Ainley said. “Dolly Parton is a legend in country music, and we are going to her theme park for the day.”

The groups are also scheduled to take a tour of the Belle Meade Plantation, and learn more about frontier music of the time.

In the following podcast Shane Phillips interviews Lindsay Weimer about the upcoming choir Nashville trip.

Three-year choir student, Lindsay Weimer, ’20, shares a little bit of her excitement about the upcoming Nashville trip. Weimer was looking forward making new memories with her fellow choir students and experiencing new places.

“I was really just looking forward to being able to go to Nashville with my friends and make memories with them,” Weimer said. “I have been in Choir since my sophomore year. I enjoy Choir because even though there is the singing part which is fun, you also get to make more friends and get to experience new and different things with every trip which is pretty cool.”

Campus choir students get a chance to meet Christian artist Natalie Grant and songwriter Dave Barnes who writes country music for artists such as Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton.

Paige Provost | The Feather Online

Chamber choir stops at Madonna Inn for breakfast before heading to Westmont University during their 2019 spring trip.

Students are offered these opportunities due to the help of Trevor Morgan, a music professional and worship leader at CrossCity Church in Fresno.

“Because we have a connection to the Christian Music Industry, we get a very special and unique opportunity,” Ainley said. “Choir student Max Morgan’s dad, Trevor, has arranged a meeting with Christian music artist Natalie Grant.”

FC music choral students will get to hear the in’s and out’s of both country and Christian music, right from the performers themselves.

“We also are going to meet Dave Barnes,” Ainley continued. He’s a songwriter who composes for country Music’s A list, including Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, and Lady Antebellum. Students will be busy every minute of the festival, but they have worked very diligently on their music, as well as many many fundraising events, so it should be the trip of a lifetime.”

Senior Wesley Hinton has been singing since he was in kindergarten but in choir since fifth grade. Hinton was looking forward to having fun with his friends and experiencing new place during the upcoming Nashville trip.

“I was looking forward to seeing a new city that I haven’ really been to before and having fun with my friends,” Hinton said. “I have been in choir since fifth grade but singing with Mrs. Ainley since I was in kindergarten. One of my favorite thing this past year we have done was sing at the candle light concert in Disneyland. It was really fun just to sing all the Christmas music and especially to sing Christian songs with a Godly message in Disneyland.”

For more music department articles, read Lessons and Carols choir Christmas performance, 2019.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

Your voice is important to us. Share your opinion in the comment box located beneath the Related Posts section.