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“I Sing Because I’m Happy”

Chorus in auditoriumClap once if you can hear me,” calls middle school choral director, Marie Williams.

A feeble clap comes from a handful of students.

“Clap twice if you can hear me.”

The collective clap is stronger and the group quiets.

“Clap three times if you can hear me!”

Three strong claps come on command and the auditorium is silent. That is how you get the attention of nearly 200 energetic chorus students, from fifth through twelfth grade. The students gathered for Choir Fest at the high school, a day of fun activities and songs, organized by the music teachers at Somers Intermediate School, Somers Middle School, and Somers High School.

“We’re here today to meet each other and show the younger kids how things will change in chorus through grade levels,” says sophomore Olivia Peck, “And to give them an idea of what it’s going to be like in the future.”

The high school students led the younger students through icebreaker activities and helped lead a Master Class-style session to learn a song they would all sing together. Sixth grader Lily Rivera is having a great time with her friends and learning from the older vocalists.

“They are more advanced, but they are teaching us in a way that we can understand,” says Rivera.

“I’m getting a new experience,” says fifth grader Alex Schnapper. “It’s like a forecast into the future for me, so I can see what happens as time goes on.”

Marie Williams, along with high school chorus director Chris Russo and SIS director Deborah Nomani, brought the chorus students together to provide support for the younger singers and to create a music community across the schools.

“The voice goes through an enormous amount of change during the adolescent years,” says Williams, “And this trip is meant to foster camaraderie amongst peers and acceptance for where their voice is at this given moment.”

The day was capped off with performances from each school chorus, and a group performance by all of the song, "I Sing Because I'm Happy."

“I really like how everybody included everybody, even if you don’t know them,” says sixth grader Ila Schoenberg. “They’re being really kind.

The entire day was filmed by high school students and will be produced as a documentary. Watch the performance of “I Sing Because I’m Happy” here.