SYLVANIA - Screven County Elementary's fourth and fifth grade chorus performed in Savannah at the Trade Center Oglethorpe Theater last Thursday during the 2011 Georgia Music Educator's Convention.
It was chorus' second consecutive year performing for the convention, said Rhonda Hinson, director and conductor of the chorus.
The Georgia Music Educator's Association is a branch of the Music Educator's National Conference, Hinson said, and the association actively participates in competitions and performances and studies issues related to music education and children.
Fourth and fifth graders at Screven Elementary must pass an audition to qualify for the chorus and then, as members, they take part in performances throughout the school year, Hinson said.
The chorus meets once a week during the school day and briefly on Friday mornings before school for vocal instruction and practice with Hinson.
So far this year, the chorus performed for the school's Veteran's Day observance, marched in the December Extravaganza Parade, and performed at a community concert in December, in addition to their Savannah performance for the convention last week.
Hinson has been director and accompanist for the chorus since 2007. She also teaches general music to all kindergarten through fifth grade students at SCES.
"Chorus, and music in general, is important," Hinson said, "because it has the power to improve our lives."
Most people have the opportunity to participate in and be exposed to music over the course of their lifetime, she said, and it is important to impart that skill to today's children.
Hinson has a masters of Music Education and a masters of Music in Piano from Florida State University.
"My goal for the chorus," she said, "is to provide an environment for children to experience good music and participate in activities where they can be challenged and can successfully meet those challenges."
Research has shown that our brains are highly engaged when we sing or play an instrument, Hinson said, and that different parts of our brains are used for performing music.
Hinson's prior teaching experience includes piano and music education at Brenau University, piano in the studio of Dr. Victoria McArthur (Theory Editor for Piano Adventures) and public school teaching in Hall County, Georgia.
"Music is universal," she said, "and crosses over language and cultural boundaries."
"And that is a skill which is vital in our expanding community," Hinson said.