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Honors choir festival celebrates the gift of music

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More than 100 of the top student vocalists from 13 elementary schools came together March 7 to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse — and finally perform a concert at the diocesan Honors Choir Festival at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. 

This is the second year the festival has been held in its current form, according to Diane Elliott, assistant superintendent. She welcomed the students, music teachers and parents, who drove in from as far away as Epiphany School in Culpeper “to help students develop their gift of music.” 

Elliott said the students, in grades 4 through 8, have been learning the songs in advance and practicing at their home schools. March 7 was the first time they came together in one large group to rehearse and perform. About 300 parents, grandparents, teachers and friends attended the afternoon concert.

diocesan honor choir 4Roy Wulf, a sixth grader at Linton Hall School, performs at the Diocese of Arlington Honors Choir Festival. JOE CASHWELL  |  FOR THE CATHOLIC HERALD

The multi-school choir was joined by the O’Connell Chorus for the last two numbers, “so the elementary students have some peer role models they can look up to,” Elliott said. 

Guest conductor was Kyra Klontz, choral director at O’Connell. Accompanist was Matthew Brown, a sophomore at O’Connell and the school’s choral program accompanist. He is also a piano and organ accompanist at St. Mark Church in Vienna and an avid composer. His original Mass setting, titled “Mass of the Resurrection,” was approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has been played during Masses at St. Mark. 

Music teachers Sarah Noone of St. Louis School in Alexandria and Hwan-Ah Lee of St. Leo the Great School in Fairfax coordinated the festival, Elliott said. 

Other schools and music teachers participating were:

-   All Saints School, Manassas; Cristin McPhilamy.

-   Epiphany School, Culpeper; Theresa Watson.

-   Holy Spirit School, Annandale, Andre Toussaint.

-   Linton Hall School, Bristow; Debby Fancher.

-   Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Vienna; Michael Sparrow.

-   Our Lady of Hope School, Potomac Falls; Michele VanBelleghem.

-   Queen of Apostles School, Alexandria; Sarah Calvino. 

-   St. Bernadette School, Springfield; Mary Halick and Jenna Sacolick.

-   St. Joseph School, Herndon; Gabriella Bambino. 

-   St. Mark School, Vienna; Elena Prince.

-   The Basilica School of St. Mary, Alexandria; Nicole Luechtefeld. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020