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Palmyra Elementary School students, Meg Gottman and Bradey Heimer, were recently selected for the Missouri All-State Children’s Choir.
The two fourth graders were among approximately 1,000 fourth and fifth grade students who auditioned from across the state.
They join a 137-voice choir that will come together to rehearse Jan. 25 and then perform a concert for family and friends at 4:30 p.m. the same day at Lake Ozark, Mo.
This will be the third annual Missouri All-State Children’s Choir.
Gottman is the daughter of Addy and Curtis Gottman, of Palmyra, and Heimer is the son of Darin and Danielle Heimer, of rural Palmyra.
“I’m so thrilled for Meg and Bradey,” said Devon Breitling, the school’s music instructor, who indicated she is always excited when the student selection list comes out to see if any of her students made the list.
“These opportunities are special, because making music with other students their own age from across the state of Missouri is a rarity.”
Breitling, helped prepare the two for the audition for which they were to sing Happy Birthday in any key.
They were judged blindly and then given a score based on pitch, tone, rhythm and expression out of eight possible points per category for a possible total of 32 points, and scored high enough to be chosen.
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 the students, along with Breitling, will drive to the Tan-Tar-A resort at Osage Beach, Mo. to rehearse with a well-known clinician and with all the other fourth and fifth grade students from around the state who were selected.
The all-state children’s choir will then perform a concert for family and friends at 4:30 p.m. the same day.
The concert is free, and anyone is welcome to attend.
Breitling is now stranger to the all-state choir having had students selected each of the three years since it began.
“When the Missouri All-State Choir began the year before Covid hit I was ecstatic,” Breitling said. “There are a number of music opportunities at the state level for high school students but very few opportunities for such high level choral singing for elementary students.
“It’s quite an honor to be selected. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. It was obvious that they both love to sing and find great joy in it.
“It was difficult to know what students to choose to audition since I’m new to the district. Meg and Bradey stood out to me right away, and I’m just happy to be able to lead them through this musical experience.
“This will be something they will never forget. These top-notch choirs help young students get excited about singing good choral literature which hopefully leads them to sing in choral music groups in middle school and high school. I couldn’t be more proud to be their teacher.”
Leading up to Jan. 25, Breitling said she will be rehearsing after school with Meg and Bradey to memorize all the songs they will be performing.
Six song selections have been chosen by the clinician. All six pieces are either two-part or three-part for treble voices.
The musical selections are: Let Me Fly, arranged by Rollo Dilworth; The Sun is Mine by Laura Hawley; I’se the B’y, by John E. Govedes; Pie Jesu, by Mary Lynn Lightfoot; How Can I Keep From Singing?, by Greg Gilpin; and A Wish for Peace, by Denise Gagne and Greg Cassils.
The clinician for the 2023 All-State Children’s Choir is Kerry Heisler, who has been an active music educator in grades first through 12 since 1997.
Heisler has taught general music, instrumental music, choral music and guitar. She also conducts the Sylvan Lake Sacred Massed Choir and Jubilare, both community-based vocal ensembles.
As part of her high school program, Heisler conducts the H.J. Cody Choir and Band at Ecole H.J. Cody School in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada.
She has a masters in music education from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada, and has studied with Jeffrey Agrell, Ardith Haley, Dr. Mark Hopkins and Dr. Dale Lonis, among others.
Breitling has been an elementary music educator for 13 years, teaching grades kindergarten through fifth at A.D. Stowell Elementary in Hannibal, K-6 at Scotland County R-1 in Memphis, Mo., K-4 at L. Mendel Rivers Elementary in Altus, Okla., and, most recently, for five years teaching K-5 at Veterans Elementary in Hannibal.