This week the Howell Women’s Chorale and Women’s Select choir will be heading off to Ball State University for their annual choir tour, February 15-16.
Sophomore Jessica Osterhout is a member of Women’s Select choir. This is her first tour, and she is excited. “I get to visit a college and go shopping with my friends.”
Traditionally, students visit a local mall near the college or university and may perform, then spend some free time shopping.
The main purpose of these tours is to help the students perfect the music they will be performing at Festival.
“It’s one of the coolest events,” notes choir teacher Rodney Bushey. “It’s actually been approved by the school board due to its progress.”
This is no surprise, for the tours have been going on for about twenty years. Mr. Bushey has been there for all of them.
“It enhances what you do and performances become bettered,” Mr. Bushey says.
The best part of each tour is that the choir students get a chance to listen to top notch university choirs. They then get the opportunity to perform in front of them and gain some feedback. Listening to the university choirs gives the high school students a perspective on how they sound. Students also get to work in what is called a clinic setting with the head professor of the university choir. There, they gain the advantage of working one on one with a professional, a highlight for the students.
Not only that, but throughout their travels to and from their destination, they get to perform songs at different high schools and middle schools, demonstrating the techniques they have learned. At times, choir actually gets compliments from those schools.
Howell choirs have also had the chance to travel to many different schools and places all over Michigan. They have been to colleges such as Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Grand Valley and Hope College. They have been out of state to places such as Bowling Green, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana and Madison, Wisconsin.
This year, Acappella choir will be heading off to Lexington, Kentucky to the University of Kentucky. And, of course, they will be performing on the way there and back to high schools and middle schools.
“Tour is awesome,” says junior and choir student Jordyn Guilmette. “And it’s really fun.”