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Old 02-16-2018, 08:20 PM
Newton Daily News Newton Daily News is offline
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Default Hitting all the right notes

Maxine Clark’s voice is starting to take her places.

The Berg Middle School student will be performing in Chicago this weekend, part of the choir performing at the Association of Choral Music Directors conference. Clark was the only student selected from Newton, BMS music teacher Will Edgar credited Clark’s hard work and dedication.

“It’s really tough to get in, they have to have impeccable tuning and good dynamics,” Edgar said.

Auditioning required learning six different songs, and Edgar said he’s been working with Clark three to four nights a week after school to get her ready for the event. The concert, which will feature singers from 10 different states, represents a meeting of two different choral divisions, the North Central Division, and the Central Division, making this honor choir something that’s really special, according to Edgar.

“It’s a pretty big deal, it’s a big honor,” Edgar said. “Not every student can make it in.”

For Clark, singing is just something that comes naturally. Ever since she joined the children’s choir in the third grade, she’s been singing her heart out. When Edgar told his students about the chance to audition for this event, she jumped at the chance to participate, even if meant agreeing to practice every day after school. After participating in Berg’s honor choir Clark felt like she had a good chance to make the cut in Chicago, but she was still excited when she found out she’d been selected.

“I hoped I’d have a good chance,” Clark said. “We’ve been practicing almost every day after school.”

It takes more than just effort to get selected for an event like this, Edgar said. Practice helps, but students need plenty of talent to hit the right notes in their auditions. Inside Edgar’s office, a cinder block cube lined with rack after rack of sheet music Clark and Edgar run through a few quick numbers, a final practice before Clark heads to Chicago for the weekend. Edgar raves about Clark’s talent, including her wide vocal range, before her rehearsal.

“This isn’t something that everyone’s given the opportunity to do,” Edgar said. “She’s just awesome with her voice, she has a very nice sound.

This will be Clark’s first trip to Chicago, and her whole family is making the trip with her. She’s hoping to soak up as much of the experience as possible, even finding time to do a little sightseeing. Despite her excitement to visit Chicago for the first time, she’s made sure to set aside plenty of time to practice before the concert on Saturday. Even with plenty of practice she’s still worried she’ll be nervous when steps on stage, she’ll be focused on staying calm and controlling her breathing.

“I’m very nervous, one of the songs is in Spanish and it’s really fast and hard, and I’m worried I’ll forget the lyrics while I’m on stage,” Clark said. “I just have to remember to take deep breaths, stay calm and focus.”

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or

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