Orchard Hill choirs sing National Anthem for Blackhawks game

Orchard Hill fifth and sixth grade chorus sang the national anthem at the Blackhawks hockey game on Friday, Feb. 25. At the beginning of the school year, students had the option to audition to join the chorus along with their regular music classes. Students would sing in small groups for Kim Kranz, Orchard Hill’s music teacher and director. 

Kranz teaches all of the basic music classes at Orchard Hill, and each grade performs a spring and winter concert each year for family members. The chorus performs additional songs at the concerts and sings at All City at the end of each school year. 

Kranz said she got into music because “Music was always my favorite subject in school. I loved singing and playing instruments. I was in choir, band and orchestra in high school. I decided that since music was such an important part of my education that I would like to share that passion with other students in hopes they also would love music.” 

She has worked to influence her students to continue that love of music through the classes and chorus. “I have been teaching music at Orchard Hill for 13 years. Fifth and sixth grade chorus is something that has been at all of the elementary schools for much longer. I simply continued the tradition.”

After auditioning (normally all students make it in) the chorus is formed. “I have a total of 59 kids in chorus this year. Numbers are down slightly, probably because we were unable to have chorus last year because of COVID.” 

Kranz encourages her students to practice singing and rehearsing their songs at home once they are given the music for their concerts. Chorus students practiced the national anthem for weeks and they met once a week for 20 minutes to do so. 

Students shuffled onto a mat on the ice last week when the lights were dimmed at the hockey arena and sang the national anthem while Kranz directed them. This opportunity was presented “about 10 years ago [when] a coordinator at the Waterloo Blackhawks sent out an e-mail to all the music teachers in the Cedar Valley letting us know that they would love to have students sing the national anthem before hockey games. I answered the e-mail and decided it would be a neat experience for my singers, plus a chance to share their amazing talents with more people that might not get to hear them sing at a concert. We have been doing it ever since, [though] we didn’t perform last year because of COVID,” Kranz said. 

She said her students will sing one more time publicly, and anyone is welcome for the final performance this year at the Vocal All City Concert on Monday, April 11 at the high school.

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