The Waco ISD Elementary Music Specialists’ and the Waco ISD Fine Arts Department hosted the 23th Annual Waco ISD Children’s Music Festival on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2018, at the University High School Performing Arts Center. The voices of more than 130 fourth- and fifth-grade students from 14 elementary campuses came together to present a concert filled with the sounds of beautiful choral music.
The concert was the result of countless hours of rehearsals at the participating campuses, and then a combined rehearsal prior to the concert. Music teachers at each school were invited to choose eight to 15 students in fourth or fifth grade to join the festival choir.
Students were selected based on their musical achievements and leadership at their home campus. The students have been rehearsing with their respective music teacher since September, practicing before or after school, to learn the selections for the concert.
The students performed selections of seven choral pieces that included a few patriotic songs, a traditional folk song, a song based on the Holocaust, and a concluded with the festive Latin showpiece, “¡Viva la Musica!” which the students’ performed in Spanish.
This marks the 23rd year of the Waco ISD Children’s Music Festival, which was conducted by Katie Forbis and accompanied by Cheryl McIlwain.
Katie Forbis is the music specialist at Provident Heights Elementary. She began teaching in Waco ISD in 2000 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in music education from Baylor University. Music and teaching have always been an integral part of her life since she grew up surrounded by an extended family of educators and musicians.
Cheryl McIlwain received her bachelor’s degree in music from Sam Houston State University. She has been a music specialist for 12 years, the last eight working in Waco ISD. She is in her sixth year at her current position as music specialist at Brook Avenue Elementary. Ms. McIlwain has always had a love accompanying both groups and soloists.
Although the districtwide choir requires many hours of additional work on the part of each music specialist, these teachers give selfishly of their time in the hope that the experience will provide their students with a desire to continue participating and leading in the fine arts groups throughout the district for many years.
Participating schools in the 2016-2017 Children’s Music Festival:
Alta Vista Elementary School
Cynthia Broughton, Music Specialist
Karmen Logan, Principal
Bell’s Hill Elementary School
Bethany Reese, Music Specialist
Bevil Cohn, Principal
Brook Avenue Elementary School
Cheryl McIlwain, Music Specialist
Sarah Pedrotti, Principal
Cedar Ridge Elementary School
Laura Nolte, Music Specialist
Helen Smith, Principal
Crestview Elementary School
Giselle Vento, Music Specialist
Kathy Densmore Principal
Dean Highland Elementary School
Melissa Loudermilk, Music Specialist
Thia Allen, Principal
Hillcrest Professional Development School
Paula Hoover, Music Specialist
Amy Mathews-Perez, Principal
J.H. Hines Elementary School
Combined J.H. Hines Elementary Staff Effort
Julie Sapaugh, Principal
Kendrick Elementary School
Anna Poe, Music Specialist
Tonya Colemna, Principal
Lake Air Montessori Magnet School
Kimberlea Emborsky, Music Specialist
Stephanie Tankersley, Principal
Mountainview Elementary School
Rebecca Short, Music Specialist
Melissa Pritchard, Principal
Provident Heights Elementary School
Katie Forbis, Music Specialist
Debbie Sims, Principal
South Waco Elementary School
Stephanie Munoz, Music Specialist
Twana Lee, Principal
West Avenue Elementary School
Matthew Short, Music Specialist
Joseph Alexander Principal
Special thanks to the 2016-2017 Children’s Music Festival Planning Committee: