Summer Clinic Builds Singing Skills

Summer Clinic Builds Singing Skills Photo

For the first time in the district, a week-long Districtwide Summer Choral Clinic was established from Aug. 14-18 for students in grades 5-12. Over 200 students participated in the program which included a half day and full day choir camp for fifth and sixth-graders.

The district originally hosted a traditional four-week, one hour-every other day summer music program for elementary and middle school students but restructured the program this year to meet the needs of more students. As a result, the number of vocal music students in grades 5-8 increased by 355 percent. 

Led by Northport High School tour choir directors Ellen McCarthy and Nicholas Hart, Northport Middle School music teacher Erica Nottingham and guest clinician Ben Johns from Eastman Music Conservatory, the program allowed students how to learn to play world drums and explore proper vocal techniques and history. They also learned various musical theater techniques such as how to stage a choral number and overall stage presence. 

“I really love the dancing,” said incoming fifth-grade Bellerose Avenue student Jessica Proffe. “I got to be a little bird in the song ‘So Long, Farewell’ and I haven’t used my voice in this way in a while.” 

Members of the Northport High School Tour Choir also participated in the clinic to build their vocal skills as part of the upper level choir. They participated in various team building exercises and icebreakers throughout the program. 

“This was the first year that we included fifth and sixth-graders into the choir clinic,” said Hart. “We are hoping that the program continues to grow and are always looking for different ways to add to and improve the clinic.” 

At the conclusion of the week, the students showcased their talents during an evening concert in the Northport High School auditorium for family and friends. Students in grade five and six donned colorful wigs and performed “Get Back Up Again” from the film Trolls, a special choreographed performance of “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music and “We Know the Way” from Moana.

The upper level choir which included mostly students in grades 9-12 with a few seventh and eighth-graders, performed “Sicut Cervus” by Palestrina, “Fa Una Canzone” by Vecchi, “Wade in the Water,” “Summertime” arranged by Roderick Williams and “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The program ended with a powerful rendition of “The Gift to be Simple” which included all the singers in the clinic.