HMS Choir Performs

Haywood Middle School Choir Performs First Concert of the Year

On Tuesday, October 19, the Haywood Middle School Choir performed their Fall concert.  Directed by first-year teacher Shelby Boggs, the choir sang four different culture-centric songs that had an underlying theme of hope that was thread through each song.

“I wanted the kids to have the experience of performing in a concert.  They’ve worked in class and deserve an opportunity to show what they’ve learned,” Shelby explained.  “It’s important for them to have a space inside school to have fun and sing, but also set a goal for that hard work they’ve done and it also connects the students to the community.”

Student ownership was seen throughout the concert as individual students introduced each song before it was performed and explained what the theme of each song was before it was sung.

The songs were chosen by Shelby based on what she believed students would be interested in performing as well as the message each song communicated.

“My goal was to introduce them to something new.  I wanted them to learn about choral music, but also about other cultures within choral music,”  she said.  “I chose the songs as a way to get the students’ attention through sound and message.  All the songs had a message of hope in them.”

The students sang a Zambian folk song called “Bonse Aba”, and sang it in the original language.  They followed that with a Swahili folk song known as “Sisi Ni Moja” which translates to “we are one.”  After singing two songs based in other cultures, the students transitioned to more familiar songs – “Rise Up” and “Keep your Lamps”.

As students prepared for this concert, their favorite song of the four would constantly shift.

“Every day their favorite song would change.  They really liked all the pieces.  They would always ask to sing “Keep your Lamps” though,” Shelby said.

As the Haywood Middle School Choir continues to evolve, Shelby envisions adding more pieces to each concert, and even having a joint concert with the Haywood High School Choir.

“My plan is to add to the number of songs we perform at concerts,” she said.  “I have the choir students all year, but new students can join in each nine weeks.  I want them to learn new music every quarter.”

As the students get more comfortable with the choir performances, Shelby also wants to add more solos to each concert.

“We’re going to combine with the high school choir for the Christmas concert.  We’re just looking for a date right now.  We want to build in some solos for the Christmas concert,” she explained.

For Shelby and her students, this was both their first performance.  Because of this shared experience, it made it easier for them to connect and rely on each other for support.

“I was nervous.  They were nervous.  It was the first concert for both of us since I’m a first year teacher,” she said.

The most important aspect to the concerts for Shelby, however, is allowing the community to see the talent of the students at Haywood Middle School.

“Our kids are very talented and as many people need to know as possible.”