OSAGE | This joint is really jumping!
Just stop by the choir room at Osage High School, there you will find an 80 member choir, the largest choir in a decade.
Osage High School Choir Director Laurie Hoeppner not only makes the room a place of singing for those 80 students, but also makes it a place of learning.
Students learn the importance of how good posture, while singing, plays a big part in the way they breathe to how they should hold their music.
In addition, Hoeppner makes song selection a collaborative effort between her and her choir members, with many members providing input into the songs they would like to perform.
“They’ll say 'Hey, what about this one?' and I have to check and see if it’s a good arrangement,” Hoeppner said, who often times has ideas for most of the songs in her head at the start of the year.
Between the upcoming variety show, auditions for solos, competitions, including the small group contest coming on April 7, along with individual lessons and group voice lessons, once every six days, choir members have to invest a great deal of time and hard work into the choir preparations.
“Work on your chest voice,” Hoeppner instructs the full room of choir students during a recent rehearsal. Their chest voices are a mixture of their actual voice and their Broadway voice. There is also a head voice, which students will also have to practice and put time into developing.
“Enunciation and diction are also very important in choir,” Hoeppner said. “They can’t mumble. They have to move their lips a lot more. Especially when singing pop songs. They have to over enunciate. Breath is so important too. Both are indicative of choir across the board. It really starts in elementary school where most of these students started.”
Hoeppner expressed the importance of students having a good K-6th grade choir experience, since choir becomes optional in seventh and eighth grades. “We are very fortunate to have Wendy Thorson here at the elementary school,” she said.
Hoeppner said it can be a challenge to keep eighty students engaged especially, when some of the incoming freshmen seem to be shy and not want to stand out.
“I don’t want anyone to blend into the wall,” Hoeppner said. “They don’t want to sing boastful, but I want them to sing their hearts out and find a connection to the song. “
Hoeppner said she knows, while some students will graduate, ending their choir experiences, expect possibly a church choir, others will want to make it a part of their lives in the future and go on to further their singing education.
Hoeppner said seeing kids grow, develop and find that spark in a song that really holds their attention has brought a great deal of joy to her over the years.