Twenty talented young singers performed a selection of vocal solos to a large audience of parents and community members on March 19. All students are enrolled in the Talented Music Program, a statewide service under the umbrella of the Natchitoches Parish Schools special education department. To gain entrance into the program, students had to undergo a preliminary screening and formal evaluation to assess their musical ability. Students’ years of experience in the program range from one to over five years.
The recital was held at the First United Methodist Church, with approximately 60 people in attendance. Students performed a variety of vocal solos, ranging from traditional art song to contemporary musical theatre, accompanied on piano by Dr. Samuel Stokes, instrumental music instructor for Natchitoches Parish Schools. All students take private voice lessons once a week from Mrs. Whitney Cummins, vocal and drama instructor for Natchitoches Parish Schools. The students hail from six schools in the district: Northwestern State University Elementary and Middle Lab Schools, Natchitoches Magnet School, Natchitoches Junior High School- Frankie Ray Jackson, Natchitoches Central High School, and Marthaville Junior High School. Students range in age from 4th – 11th grade.
Students were required to perform their songs from memory, and have spent several months preparing for their performance. Several students also participate in other performance opportunities, such as school-wide programs and the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs’ annual junior festival, held on the Northwestern State University campus. The primary goals of Mrs. Cummins’ instruction is to provide students with quality vocal technique, healthy vocal habits, confident stage presence, and a variety of performance opportunities.
Pictured above on front row from left are Madeline Nicholson, Ellie Wilson, Naomi Vercher, Amia Brown, Annaliece Romero, and Lilyasta Laning. On back row are Whitney Cummins, Johanna Smith, Victoria Wiggins, Katherine Callender, Destanee Stewart, and Saria Calhoun. On back row are Elan Monette, Huntar Goings, Tanner Holden, Bella Frederick, Thomas Miller, Briana Barnum, LaDasha Bradley, Linda Ransfer, and Dr. Samuel Stokes. Not pictured are Tinley Durr and Ayla Payne.