Third Annual 5th Grade Honor Chorus

Third Annual 5th Grade Honor Chorus

Portia Burns, Gainesville Middle School choral director, Brenau alumna and director of the Brenau Gospel Choir, directs the 5th Grade Honor Chorus to the stage in Pearce Auditorium. “The notes on the page are not music,” she said. “The feeling and emotion you put into them when you sing, that’s music.”

The Brenau University Music Department and the Gainesville City Schools System Choral Department hosted the third Annual 5th Grade Honor Chorus on Feb. 12 on Brenau’s historic Gainesville campus. The 5th graders’ day of work culminated in a free, open-to-the-public concert in Pearce Auditorium at 5 p.m.

Students from Centennial Arts Academy, Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, Fair Street IB World School, Gainesville Exploration Academy and New Holland Core Knowledge Academy, spent their day working on songs in small groups, playing musical games, practicing performance techniques and preparing for the concert later that evening.

“The 5th Grade Honor Chorus gives students an opportunity to experience singing in a choral group and discover if they enjoy this musical activity,” said Bobby Ivey, Brenau University music professor and a program director for the Honor Chorus.

In chorus, he said, students have the opportunity to develop their musical talent, be creative, use critical thinking skills to learn to sight read music, work collaboratively with other students, develop a discipline of practice and performance and build self-esteem as part of a collaborative group.

“This is one of my favorite events we put on,” said Ivey. “I enjoy working with the students in the community and engage them with music at an early age.”

Ivey approached Julia Hamilton, the Gainesville High School choral director, with the idea for the Honor Chorus three years ago to support the GCSS choral department and reach more children in the community with music. 

Beyond helping students build their musical knowledge, critical thinking skills and respect for choral performance, the 5th Grade Honor Chorus brings music educators together to provide a seamless musical education across the district. Julia Hamilton, GHS choral director, and Portia Burns, Gainesville Middle School choral director, Brenau alumna and director of the Brenau Gospel Choir, have been working with the elementary music teachers to plan this 5th Grade Honor Chorus experience.

“Music to me is something that, if you get it young, grows with you,” said Burns. “I have 49 students in my 7th grade choir class and every single last one of them came through the first 5th Grade Honor Chorus. It just really works.”
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