Warsaw Elementary students selected to sing in National Conference Choir

| March 28, 2019

Maguire Werntz and Avington Wright, fourth graders at Warsaw Elementary, recently returned from singing in the National Conference Choir during the National Conference for the Organization of American Kodaly Educators. They were chosen to perform during the conference and had the opportunity to learn from world-renown conductors as well as sing with other students from across the United States. They are pictured with their music teacher, Christina Shrimplin.

WARSAW – Last autumn, three students at Warsaw Elementary School auditioned for a chance to sing in the National Conference Choir, which is held in correlation with the National Conference for the Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE) in Columbus. Two students, Avington Wright and Maguire Werntz, both fourth graders at the school, were accepted into the 2019 edition of the choir.

In November, the students were notified of their acceptance. In January, they received their music packets and were required to learn and memorize each of the eight songs prior to attending the conference. On Wednesday, March 20, Wright and Werntz arrived at the Hyatt Regency Columbus to begin rehearsals with other music students from across the country. Their Warsaw Elementary School music teacher, Christina Shrimplin, who is a member of OAKE, traveled with the students to attend the conference where she had the chance to gather information from other music educators who use the Kodaly system in the classroom.

Wright and Werntz were able to work with world-renown conductor Nyssa Brown who is an elementary vocal and choral music specialist, performing arts coordinator and specialist team leader at the American School of The Hague in the Netherlands.

The two said they learned a lot from Brown.

“Mainly, I learned you have to try your hardest, but if that doesn’t sound right, try again,” said Wright.

“She was telling us if you open your mouth wider, you will sound like you’re a more seasoned singer,” said Werntz.

Rehearsals started each day with a yoga class to loosen up the muscles and then a vocal exercise was performed to warm up the voice. After four days of rehearsal, the choir gave a concert on Saturday, March 23 in the Mershong Auditorium at the Wexner Center.

The students performed eight different songs, two of which had dance moves and some were in a foreign language. The type of music ranged from folk songs to classical literature including the premiere of a new song by a Netherland composer.

“My favorite song we did was ‘Sisi Ni Moja’,” said Werntz. “It just makes you feel so happy inside.”

Wright and Werntz are planning to join choir at Warsaw next year and are currently learning music education in Shrimplin’s music class. They both said they have always enjoyed music.

“I love that you can do anything in music if you put your mind to it,” said Wright. “Music is always fun. I love music.”

“You can do anything in music,” said Werntz. “You just have to try and eventually you will hit your goal.”

The trip was funded through their parents, Jacie and Charlie Wright and Nikole and Christopher Werntz. Both students, their parents, and Shrimplin stayed at the Crown Plaza while they were attending the conference.

“They represented our school so well in all aspects from being attentive at rehearsals to performing with expression to being open and learning from a new conductor and the people around them,” said Shrimplin. “They also put in an incredible amount of time on their own to learn their music.”

Both Wright and Werntz said this is an experience they will always remember.

“I enjoyed meeting new friends and spending time with Mrs. Shrimplin, my mom, and the people we were around,” said Wright.

“I liked meeting new people from different states,” said Werntz. “There were other kids there from Bulgaria too. It was just a blast. I really encourage everybody to try it.”

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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