Thursday, December 7, 2017

Terrace Students Named to National O.A.K.E. Choir

Donations sought to fund related travel expenses

Four Terrace Elementary School students were chosen recently to join the Organization of American Kodály Educators (O.A.K.E.) National Children’s Choir, which will perform during the group’s national meeting next spring.

Donations are being sought online through the campus and greater Spring Branch community to support family travel needs of $5,000 or more for the four students. See GoFundMe details on this topic below.

Selected for the O.A.K.E National Children’s Choir is Terrace fourth-grade student Jonathan Hogue and fifth-graders Saray Noyola, Ricardo Costilla and Isabella Hernandez. Their Terrace music teacher is Eric Murillo. They are the only SBISD students selected this year for the national choir.

The four students will train, rehearse and perform as part of the O.A.K.E national conference. The Kodály method is an experience-based music educational program developed by a mid-20th century Hungarian composer, educator and philosopher, Zoltan Kodály.

The Kodály (pronounced KO-die) method focuses on using experiences with movement, sight and sound to teach musical concepts. It is famous for the use of solfege, or “do-re-me,” as featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein song performed in the popular Sound of Music film.

“We are so proud to have these students representing Terrace and Spring Branch ISD at a national level,” Principal April Falcon-Blanco said.

“This experience will provide our students with opportunities to learn, share their talent, build their confidence and meet other students who share their hopes and dreams. They are all really great kids and very deserving of this honor,” she also said.

Music Specialist Eric Murillo said the audition requirements for the students were quite challenging. The four worked with Murillo for weeks after school on choir audition materials.

Training and rehearsals led the students to these vocal accomplishments:
  • Singing four designated, five tone ascending and descending scale passages on a neutral syllable, a cappella, after only being given a starting pitch
  • Singing upper/middle/lower parts of a basic chord progression using solfege (a system for singing notes) while Murillo played an outline of chords with the parts they were not singing
  • Singing America the Beautiful a cappella after a given starting pitch
“I told my students that I’d be proud of them for just making it through the audition process regardless of the outcome,” Murillo said. “The fact that all four of them made it (into the national choir) is beyond exciting! I’m thrilled that their perseverance paid off and that we’ll head to Oklahoma.”

The National Children’s Choir is composed of 4th and 5th grade students.
The Terrace students will perform March 24, 2018, inside the Civic Center Music Hall downtown in Oklahoma City. O.A.K.E choirs usually perform with renowned conductors.

Murillo estimates that each student’s family will now need to raise between $1,200 and $1,600 to travel and participate. GoFundMe accounts were set up recently for all four students. Individual campaign links:

Saray Noyola

Ricardo Costilla

Jonathan Hogue

Isabella Hernandez

Related Links:

Organization of American Kodály Educators

Kodály Concept & Theory

National Conference Choirs


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