Local elementary- and middle-school students who performed in the culminating concert at the recent Organization of American Kodaly Educators national conference in Hartford, Conn., are, bottom row, from left: Liza Love, Maija Dixon, Annelise Molavi, Julia Parker, Grace Parcover, Jordan van Doren and Jacob Korczakowski. In the top row, from left, are Rosemary Wonnell, Olivia Robinson, Emma Shannon, Maya Florian, Kristina Anastasiades, Emily Robinson and Audra Lane. Music teacher Michael Allman is in the middle row. Not pictured is Sarah Prem. (Submitted photo / April 4, 2013)

Local elementary and middle-school students performed in the Children's Choir at the Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE) national conference in Hartford, Conn., March 20- 23. The students, representing Riderwood Elementary School, Dumbarton Middle School, Ridgely Middle School, and The Bryn Mawr School, were among 458 talented singers chosen from across the nation. These young singers performed the culminating concert at The First Cathedral on Saturday, March 23 after four days of rigorous practice with their conductors. Selected to participate were Liza Love, Maija Dixon, Annelise Molavi, Julia Parker, Grace Parcover, Jordan van Doren, Jacob Korczakowski, Sarah Prem, Rosemary Wonnell, Olivia Robinson, Emma Shannon, Maya Florian, Kristina Anastasiades, Emily Robinson, and Audra Lane. They were notified in November of their selection, and under the tutelage of Riderwood Elementary School vocal music teacher Michael Allman, participated in weekly rehearsals to prepare for the event.

As you can imagine, much work went into preparing for the concert. One of the young vocalists, Jacob Korczakowski, described the practices. "We had to work hard on half of a song a day, every day, to prepare for Hartford. Our Riderwood teacher, Mr. Allman, used his piano to make recordings of the songs and helped us learn our different parts of each song." Jacob commented that his favorite part of the trip was the concert because everything that he worked so hard to achieve finally paid off. One of the girls, Liza Love, said her favorite part of preparing for the concert was learning new actions for the song 'Jump!,' in which she was chosen to do a special part. "We had so much fun performing this song, which is very suspenseful," she remarked. "It tells an epic adventure story, and I actually felt like I was on the edge of a cliff."

While in Hartford, the elementary school students from the Children's Choir also performed at the opening ceremonies of the Sandy Hook Run for the Families Marathon held on March 23. More than 15,000 runners participated in the marathon fundraiser benefiting those families affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six adults lost their lives last December.

Director Allman had high praise for his students. "Some of the things that strike me again and again when we do these OAKE events are the joy the kids take in the preparation, the excitement in the concerts, and the strong and growing sense of community that we see with the student participation, the parent support, and the intense and careful preparation, both on site and before. It is an honor to be part of a group that is so willing to undertake the pursuit of performing quality music to such lengths, and to do it with such a sense of how important it is, while keeping the joy in the process. The Children's Choir that sang at the Sandy Hook benefit performed at a historic event."

In a concert closer to home, the Baltimore Music Club presents the winners of its Music Competitions for 2013 on Sunday, April 14. The public is invited to come and enjoy selections from these young and aspiring musicians. The concert, which is the group's final performance for the season, will be held at the Peabody Conservatory in Towson. The concert is free and will begin promptly at 3 p.m. Please call Carol Kakel with any questions at 410-252-8662.

Children in Orchard Hills enjoyed their community association's annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 23. Congratulations to the grand prize winner Connor McElwain, who received a gift card and stuffed animal. Also winning gift cards were Lucy Williams and Mason Talaber.