February 22, 2013

Honor Choir brings deanery’s young voices together

Members of the New Albany Deanery Honor Choir perform before the New Albany Deanery’s welcome Mass for Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin on Jan. 29. (Submitted photo)

Members of the New Albany Deanery Honor Choir perform before the New Albany Deanery’s welcome Mass for Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin on Jan. 29. (Submitted photo)

By Amy Clere (Special to The Criterion)

NEW ALBANY—The grade school students in the New Albany Deanery Honor Choir were nervous yet ready as they prepared to sing before the New Albany Deanery’s welcome Mass for Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin on Jan. 29.

Not only was the archbishop listening at St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Church in Floyd County, but there were also 1,000 worshipers from across the deanery in attendance.

“We had to get the kids used to singing in a church where the acoustics are different,” said Erica Pangburn, co-director of the choir. “They had to perform the music more slowly.”

The choir also sang beautifully in just their second performance since forming in late 2012. The group was started to showcase the musical talents of fifth- through eighth-grade students across the deanery.

“It helps the kids develop friendships, and helps them develop musically,” said Pangburn, who is music teacher at Holy Family School in New Albany and Most Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Jeffersonville.

She noted that the idea for the choir came from Richard Rebilas, music director at Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville. Rebilas views the choir as a way to invite younger students to perform at the high school.

“It opens the dialogue between the deanery schools and teachers,” Rebilas said. “[It also fosters] fellowship with the talented deanery music students, parents and faculty.”

The first New Albany Deanery choir combines grade school students from St. Joseph School in Corydon, St. Mary-of-the-Knobs School in Floyd County, St. Paul School in Sellersburg, Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville, Most Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Jeffersonville, and Holy Family School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School and St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, all in New Albany.

“I think it’s very exciting to be working with all the new people,” said Aurora Robinson, a sixth-grade student at Holy Family School.

Her classmate, Elizabeth Hallal, agreed. “I think it’s nice to get together with lots of other people from all the other schools to sing together with lots of different voices.”

The choir practices every week. The singers have also had to learn Latin for some songs.

“They taught us how to pronounce it and what it means,” noted Hannah Clere, a sixth-grade student from Holy Family School. “It’s something special to learn to do that.”

The choir will have at least one more opportunity to sing during this school year at the New Albany Deanery Fine Arts Fair at Providence Jr./Sr. High School on May 5.

For her part, Pangburn enjoys teaching the choir.

“I just love singing” said Pangburn, a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Starlight. “And I love it when the kids learn from an experience like this.”
 

(Amy Clere is a world languages teacher at Holy Family School in New Albany.)

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