Provided by Prince William County Schools
Rising eighth-graders in the Women’s Choir at Marsteller Middle School aren’t waiting for school to begin to kick off an amazing year. They will be in “music camp” in August, working with Choral Teacher Julie Phelan to prepare for the high point of their careers, a thirty-minute performance before a discerning audience of thousands of music educators in November. This is the second time that Marsteller has won an invitation to bring the choir to the Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference.
“Music is powerful, and students gain much more than pride in their performance,” Phelan says.
Working toward group goals in an ensemble prepares students for a future work environment. They develop communication skills, problem finding and solving skills, and team spirit. Socially, students who are involved in a musical ensemble learn important life skills such as discipline, relating to others, working as a member of a team, and leadership.
“I think my students would tell you they enjoy being in an ensemble such as the women’s choir because it becomes their family. It’s the place in school where they feel they belong. Many have told me it’s their happy place.
“It is quite an honor, so I am thrilled and humbled by the invitation,” said Phelan. “My eighth-graders are very special singers and students so I knew it was the right time to audition again in hope of being selected.” Phelan submitted two songs from both women’s choirs from the past two consecutive years.