The Zachary High School and Northwestern Middle School choirs both scored straight superior ratings from every judge at the recent Festival Competition and earned Sweepstakes trophies. The ZHS Choir is led by Cierra Fountain and the NMS choir by Cassie Doherty. The teachers said they are so proud of their students for this huge accomplishment.
Festival is an annual competition offered through the organization LMEA (Louisiana Music Educators Association). Directors participating must be a member of the organization. The District IV Festival Competition was held on March 16-18th. It was hosted at First Baptist Church Baton Rouge, located in downtown Baton Rouge. All choirs participating must sing-song selections for a group of 3 judges to receive their performance score, then they must sight-read a selection of music they have never seen before for a score from a different judge. If the students score overall superior ratings from their performance judges and the sight-reading judge, they can take home a sweepstakes trophy. If they score anything lower than a superior in either category, they only get the experience. The scoring scale is 1-5, with 1 being the top score. NMS and ZHS choirs both scored overall superior (1) ratings for their performances and their sight-reading scores qualified them for a sweepstakes trophy.
The NMS and ZHS choirs start preparing for this competition at the beginning of each year learning the fundamentals of how to read music. As the year progresses, the students’ skills in reading on their own improve, which helps prepare them for the sight-reading portion of the festival. Usually in January students begin learning their festival performance music and begin to perfect each selection (up until the day of competition). Students learn how to perform the music with correct notation, dynamics, and more. They also learn how to follow their director and connect on a deeper level with the songs they are performing.