It is an event that only happens every three years in the Scotia-Glenville Central School District. On Wednesday, Feb. 27, the District Wide Choral Festival, Music from Many Lands, will be held in the gymnasium, celebrating songs from children in grades four through 12. The concert will include selected fourth- and fifth-grade students, along with the entire group of choral students in grades six through 12 -- about 450 students.
"This is something really special because we only do it every three years. This is the third annual festival, and we are really excited," said music director for the district Susan Fitting.
Fitting said that at the first event, the district included all of the fourth and fifth grade students, but it was too big of a group for the high school to accommodate. She said now the music teachers from each of the four elementary schools choose students to participate in the event.
Preparation begins in September and continues through the week of the concert. This year, one of the highlights of the event is the assistance of guest conductor Diane B. Warner, a retired Shenendehowa School District music supervisor. Fitting said Warner helps to add to the feel of this event being something special.
"I was rehired to work with the select choirs, so after 35 years of teaching I am now a choral director and vocal lesson instructor," said Warner.
Warner also is also the founder and director of the Capital District Youth Chorale. She instituted the All District Band, Choral and String festivals in Shenendehowa and continues to offer support to the music staff.
Warner said she was more then happy to hear from Fitting because she believes that having a guest conductor is an expansion of music education for students.
"These festivals are critical to retaining singers in the choral program. The younger singers are so motivated by the older singers. It is the best recruitment tool that I know. Whenever students work with a guest conductor they gain more experience in responding to musical ideas and gestures, as well as receiving reinforcing information for the work that their directors do with them on a regular basis," said Warner.