Choral students uncover new skills under Waggoner teacher’s tutelage

– Photo by Mark Crudup

Waggoner Elementary School’s Wildcat Choir club is music to the ears of parents.

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Ninety fourth- and fifth-grade students meet twice a week in the after-school program created by Waggoner music teacher JulieAnne Weissbuorg, practicing for choreographed concerts featuring soloists, singers and instrument players.

“We started with a maximum number of students set at 80, but I just can’t say no to anyone who wants to join,” Weissborg said.

Late last month, Weissborg led the group of students as they sang songs to be featured in the upcoming December performance. She introduced musical concepts to eager students who implemented tone and technique, while utilizing posture to properly enunciate words.

“I have such a great group of kids,” Weissborg said. “Many other schools don’t have programs like this; I’m thankful I can give students this opportunity.”

All Kyrene district students take music courses during their elementary years, as well as in kindergarten. Parents pay a yearly fee to enroll their kids in the choir club.

Weissborg started the Wildcat Choir club four years ago, offering students a place to discover their musical talents.

“I really try to make it so we do a lot of different types of music,” she said. “The kids play instruments, as well, such as the xylophone.”

While she instructed the club, Weissborg sang examples of the same note separated by an octave, and allowed the students to practice in unison.

During practice, students sang songs with foreign words incorporated into the lyrics. They also developed choreography, adding energetic movements to their performances. And, Weissborg noted, soloists are always featured.

“The hardest part of my job is choosing the soloists,” she said. “They are just all so good, it’s hard to pick only a couple students out.”

Wildcat Choir students Avri Godson and Leah Woods said they were excited to sing “the Grinch” in their December concert.

“It was difficult at first,” Leah said. “Pronouncing the words for the songs is hard, but the teacher makes it really fun; she’s so nice.”

Harrison Bradley and Justin Pany, also choir members, said they enjoy singing the songs Weissburg picks out.

A group of parents with students involved in last year’s fifth-grade concert put together a framed collection of photos from the night, which is now sitting on Weissburg’s whiteboard, honoring her passion for music and teaching.

Two performances are scheduled: Dec. 14 and April 26, at 6:30 p.m. Both will be held in Waggoner’s multipurpose room.

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