Music Educators Conference
On the state level, it is perhaps the greatest honor any chorale group could ever achieve, being invited to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association conference. Cowley’s Concert Choir received its second invitation in three years as it performed the morning of Feb. 25 in the Mary Jane Teall Theater at Century II in Wichita. Connie Donatelli, director of vocal music, said the invitation to perform at KMEA was “such an honor.” “We’ve got a difficult program,” said Donatelli, who directed Cowley’s Concert Choir in its first KMEA performance in 2002. “We’re being judged by our peers, so the pressure is on us.”
Groups only are able to perform once every three years at KMEA. Donatelli said the 30-35-minute performance was a great experience for her students. “We work very hard,” Donatelli said. “We have fun during our rehearsals, but we get a lot of work done. These students deserved a shot to perform at a conference like this. They all did a fabulous job.” Those words were echoed by Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Sheree Utash. “Connie does such a fantastic job with her program,” Utash said. “It’s truly the best vocal music program in the state, and probably the entire region. Their performance was wonderful.” Donatelli accepted the invitation from KMEA last fall.
The Concert Choir learned and performed the material, except for one piece, during the fall semester. The program: “The Glorious Music of Life” by Mark Hayes, “The Blue Bird” by Charles Stanford, “Sing and Dance” by Thomas Benjamin, “Io Son La Primavera” (I Am Spring) by William Hawley, “Jabberwocky” by Sam Pottle, and “Freedom Trilogy” by Paul Halley. Donatelli said the KMEA performance provided instant credibility and exposure for Cowley’s vocal music program. “Since 2002, more students are studying private voice, and that’s made a huge improvement to my program,” she said.