It was a rare opportunity for the Michigan Avenue Chorus this week as they sang for the Tennessee General Assembly.
The students found out about the opportunity during the school’s annual Christmas concert where Rep. Eric Watson made the announcement.
“I was really excited and surprised because I didn’t think chorus would get such a great honor,” Reagan Kelley, a fifth-grade student, said.
Katelynn Howell, a fifth-grade student, said it was a neat opportunity because not many schools are chosen for this honor.
“I thought it was a great honor that we could go to the capital of Tennessee,” Nick Brantley, a fifth-grade student, said.
Fifth-grade student Maddie Davis said the students sang “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The songs were a part of the set the chorus has been learning during the spring semester. According to chorus director Cara Rogers, the songs were requested by the legislators.
The performance was one of the few times the chorus has sang acappella. Third-grade student Addy Bot said the group practiced pronunciation of the words while singing. Nick said they also focused on phrasing and how long to stretch out words. Reagan said it was a little difficult for all the membersto take a deep enugh breath and start at the same time. Since they were singing acappella, students also practiced staggering their breathing.
“We sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the House floor and “America the Beautiful” in the Senate chambers,” Rogers said.
Addy said her favorite part was “knowing we would be able to go to the state house because they only pick two schools out of elementary and college to go there ... we were proud of ourselves and they really enjoyed us.”
Hannah Maddox, a fifth-grade student said the performance brought tears for some of the legislators.
Perhaps the difficult part for the students was getting up at 4 a.m. Thursday morning to make the trip. After the performance, students were given a tour of the state capital building.
Fifth-grade student and choir officer Connor Goines said most of the chorus members already knew the songs. Those who did not were able to catch on quickly.
The entire chorus of 47 students was able to make the special trip. To raise the funds needed to attend, students sold doughnuts and coffee.
Most of the students’ parents were also able to attend. Cost per student was about $50, Rogers said.
Because of the length of the drive, the chorus rode charter buses.
In addition to singing for the legislators, students were able to eat at the Rainforest Cafe and meet Quaver of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music in his studio during their trip to Nashville.