RANDOLPH, NJ - For the first time in the history of the Randolph school choral program, students from grades 4 through 12 shared the same stage, or in this case the same gym bleachers, to perform together as one large group. The elementary school students and most middle school grades were all dressed in white, and they were flanked on their left side by their high school counterparts who were dressed in their formal black attire.
The evening in April began with all four elementary chorus groups singing together, followed by the middle school chorus singing on their own. It was then the high school's turn, and they impressed on a variety of numbers with small groups of students and soloists who were featured. Finally, all the students joined forces for a resounding finale of “Give Us Hope”.
In years past, Randolph had a smaller version of a district choral concert in which elementary students auditioned for, and about 60 were selected. For this event all were included, and that amounted to 300 eager and smiling faces singing their hearts out in front of a packed high school gym.
The evening was a resounding success according to David Imhoff, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts. He explained, “As a department, we were thrilled with the success of the concert. I was very pleased with each of the choruses that performed in the concert."
The Elementary choruses were led by each schools respective choral director. Carey Hackett of Center Grove, Brenda Rappeport of Fernbrook, Cynthia Feeney of Ironia, and Natalie Ernstes of Shongum all practiced songs with their students that were sung together as a combined elementary chorus.
The middle school director is Megan French, and she was assisted with her students by accompanist John Rittweger. The high school students, directed by Matthew Swiss, sung as a Concert Choir, Treble Choir, Chamber Choir and a Combined Choir.
Their hard work did not go unrecognized, as the audience enthusiastically applauded each group after their performance. Imhoff agreed, stating after the show, “It was obvious that the students and teachers put in considerable time and effort in preparing for the program."
The evening went off without a hitch, but with any inaugural program, the organizers always come up with new ideas as the event unfolds. Imhoff explained, “Once the event is over, you look for areas to adjust. We are looking forward to making those adjustments in the coming years."