By JOCELYN NICHOLS
PISD Communications Staff
For four members of the Bondy Intermediate School choir, Chicago provided plenty of sights. But the best sounds came from the choir members themselves.
Bondy students Kyra Chapa, David Weiser, Alex Barosh and Michael Dinsdale - all members of the school's A Capella Choir -- were among 300 students chosen from a nationwide audition pool to participate in National Junior High Choir activities in Chicago from March 9-12.
The trip concluded with the National Junior High Choir Concert in the Roosevelt University auditorium before an audience of nearly 900.
Equally important was the students' opportunity to rehearse under the direction of Dr. Rollo Dilworth, a noted composer and singer who serves as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Chicago's North Park University School of Music.
Dr. Dilworth is also the director of the Music Institute of Chicago's Children Choir.
"These are outstanding students with gifted voices," said Margaret Jordan, Bondy's choir director. "We are so glad that they had the chance to learn from Dr. Dilworth."
Chapa and Weiser are eighth-graders at Bondy. Barosh and Dinsdale are seventh-graders.
All are tenors, except Chapa, who is a soprano.
When they weren't singing, the students enjoyed sight-seeing around Chicago. They visited the Sears Tower, the Navy Pier and the Field Museum. They also attended the St. Patrick's Day Parade and watched as the Chicago River was dyed green.
"Chicago was a lot of fun," Dinsdale said. "I ate a real Chicago dog."
The students were selected to perform in the National Junior High Choir by the American Choral Directors Association based upon auditions held last year.
Each student recorded sound files in which they sang scales, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and additional material. More than 1,200 students from around the country auditioned, from which 300 were chosen.
Weiser, Barosh and Dinsdale were the only tenors selected from Texas.
Because the students were selected to perform in this year's concert, they are also eligible to audition for the 2012 International Choir concert to be held in London.
The students rehearsed with Dr. Dilworth and other composers three times a day, sometimes for up to three hours per session. Dr. Dilworth taught the students vocal warm-ups and other exercises. Students also participated in question-and-answer sessions with their instructors.
"The rehearsals were long," Barosh said. "But I enjoyed it because we sang fun songs."
Linda Fletcher, Pasadena ISD's Director of Fine Arts, and Troy McCarley, the district's Associate Superintendent for Campus Development, were in attendance for the concert, as were the parents of the four Bondy students.
"To be able to perform with such a high musical caliber of students, and with Dr. Dilworth, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Fletcher said. "Plus, the students sounded wonderful."
"The director was incredible," Chapa said. "We learned a lot of good techniques from him."
The students took what they learned back to Bondy to share with other choir students.
"They were so eager to share what they learned," said Lisa Morfin, Bondy's assistant choir director. "They volunteered to teach the other choir members the warm-ups they did with Dr. Dilworth."
For Weiser, the trip not only provided him with a unique opportunity to advance his music education. He said it gave him the chance to interact with other students from other parts of the country.
"It was a good to meet people from different places who share the same enthusiasm for music that I do," Weiser said.