High notes: Baker Chorus earns distinguished rating, beats record

Published 8:09 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Baker Intermediate School Chorus is racking up successes this year.

On March 7, Baker Chorus received their fourth consecutive distinguished rating at the KMEA District 7 Middle School Choral Assessment Festival in Lexington.

Baker has received a distinguished rating every year, but this year earned a record-high individual judge’s scores so far in the school’s history, Stephanie Arthur, Baker’s music teacher, said.

Email newsletter signup

At this event, Baker performed two prepared pieces for three judges, then sight-read for another judge a song students had never heard before in only five minutes. The director wasn’t permitted to sing it for or with the chorus, Arthur said. All three judges gave Baker Chrous a Distinguished rating for their prepared pieces, and the sight-reading judge gave the students a perfect 40/40 score, she said.

Baker Chorus was also the youngest choral group to be selected to perform at the 2018  Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Professional Development Conference. The chorus traveled to Louisville to sing in February.

Groups had to submit a recording of pieces they showcased during the school year and judges select groups by blind audition.  In 2017, Baker sent the record of their Distinguished Assessment Festival performance and was selected to perform at the 2018 conference. Baker was chosen to sing alongside other groups such as the University of Kentucky Chorale, Asbury Women’s Choir, and other middle and high school choruses.

Arthur said she’s lucky to work with students who want to sing.

“I always get good kids that want to sing and want to get better, so we work hard, and they pay attention to all the ways they can improve,” she said. “…Every year it starts out rough, but by the end, we are distinguished.”

Sixth-grader Elliot Pope said the recognition the chorus has earned is in part due to the way Arthur teaches.

“The way (Arthur) teaches is she tries to get us to understand the words and get the feel of the music, so we know the gist of it and the tone and stuff, and she’s good at it,” Pope said.

Fellow sixth-grader Joseph Booth agreed and added the students in the chorus are talented as well.

“This chorus has a special gift somehow,” Booth said. “…But Mrs. Arthur, she helped us along from fifth grade when we first came to now.”

The chorus is now gearing up for their Spring Pops Concert on May 3 which will feature music from “High School Musical.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

email author More by Lashana