A blessing I could not have anticipated  

by Jordan Cox

Itcox was in the first eight weeks of the semester and I had been working diligently with my Mixed Chorus.  Many of us have such a choir of non-auditioned students who are often completing their fine arts credit.  My group consisted of eleven freshmen and one senior who was not able to fit one of the auditioned choirs into her schedule. 

This is my first year at a 5A high school with a choral program full of potential. I was wrestling with what was best for this young group of inexperienced singers.  We had been rehearsing six enjoyable pieces and the students needed an opportunity to perform.  They were not ready in time for my first Fall Concert, but scheduling a second evening performance just for my twelve singers did not seem plausible.  I decided a recital of some sort would be in order, but for whom could we perform?  More specifically, for whom could we perform  during seventh period?  And, who would apprecimixedchoirate this recital despite the musical immaturity of the group?

This line of thinking led me to our Special Education Department.  Since I was still learning the who’s and how’s of my new school environment, I approached my principal and explained my thought process.  He thought it was a wonderful idea and an excellent demonstration of the collaborative atmosphere we are cultivating as a professional learning community on our campus.   He directed me to one of our Special Education teachers who responded with joyful agreement that this would be a wonderful activity for all of our students.

The day of the recital came and seventeen “special” students joined us along with their aides and teachers.  All four of our high school counselors and two of our assistant principals were also in attendance. Everyone seemed radiant with anticipation.  With the singers set on one side of the room and our audience on the other, we shared with each other the music of Bach, Stroope, and Moses Hogan as the performers put into practice all they had learned.
Our audience was wonderful, and despite a few minor distractions, my vocalists put forth their best efforts and were gracious hosts serving a light reception of fall cookies.
The response from everyone was overwhelming.  The student audience hummed along, swayed with joy, and clapped along on “The Storm is Passing Over.”  The Special Education teachers left ready to incorporate more music into their classrooms, and the counselors raved at the impact this performance had on all of our students.  The singers were proud of their performance and took their role seriously and professionally, commenting that they had fun.  And, of course, everyone loved the cookies!

While it's true that such a class can be a challenge for all of us, especially while we are building a program, rest assured that there is hope.  Because for me, on October 24th, my "Mixed Chorus" became a blessing that I could have never anticipated."

Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel – Moses Hogan  (2 part)
Bist Du Bei Mir – J.S. Bach, arr Doreen Rao (Unison)
Dodi Li – Nira Chen, arr. Doreen Rao (2 part)
Inscription of Hope – Z. Randall Stroope (2 part) (sang melody)
Hold On! – Ken Burg (2 part)
The Storm Is Passing Over – Charles Albert Tindley, arr. Baker (sang melody)
Jordan Cox is director of choral music at Cape Central High School, Cape Girardeau, MO. He lives in Jackson, MO