Nevada Union High School Choir performs at second annual Supper of Song | TheUnion.com

Nevada Union High School Choir performs at second annual Supper of Song

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

The second annual Supper of Song is happening tonight.

Nevada Union High School Choir Director Rod Baggett says the idea is to introduce the public to this year's different choirs in a fun environment. Students will perform, while attendees enjoy cuisine provided by local vendors.

Vendors offering food for sale will include Horn of the Bull Taqueria, Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, Pete's Pizza, and Lazy Dog Ice cream.

The NU Choir Boosters will also be selling baked potatoes, hot dogs, and chili.

Baggett says people can buy food and then sit down to enjoy a wide variety of musical performances. He says it is an opportunity for the students to show off some of the skill they have acquired, in a light atmosphere. All the choirs will perform together as the "Chorale" and then will perform in each of their groups.

The choir breaks into different assemblages including the beginning and intermediate girls which are called "Bel Canto" (meaning beautiful singer), followed by the advanced ladies "Ensemble," and then the males, who perform as the Miners Choir, and finally, the Chamber Choir — advanced boys and girls choir — who will be promoting the upcoming Madrigal dinner.

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The performances will conclude with the Chorale coming together again.

Attendees will enjoy some well-known songs such as "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," and John Denver's "Country Roads," as well as some lighter classical pieces and several American and International folk songs.

In between performances, a raffle will take place with a variety of great prizes up for grabs including choir "swag" – T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and tickets to future performances. In addition, local businesses have donated items including a gift certificate to New Moon, pedicures, items from Grass Valley Brewing Company and tickets to upcoming community events, to name a few.

Anyone bringing a canned food donation will receive a raffle ticket and more will be available for sale at the event. Food donations will be given to Interfaith Food Ministry for distribution.

With a theme of gratitude and giving, The Supper of Song evening is meant to encourage students, families, and community members to rejoice and give thanks while sharing their abundance with our less fortunate neighbors.

High quality continues

Baggett, now in his 23rd year, says there have been a lot of changes since he first began his time at Nevada Union, but it still comes down to teenagers focusing their energy into a positive release.

The quality of the program has continued despite lower numbers of participants in recent years. He says unlike with sports programs, choirs do not compete based on the size of the schools, "When we go to a festival, it doesn't matter what size school we are, we are still judged on the talent of the singing."

The choir has not been immune to the ongoing challenge of declining enrollment and still has costs that go with performing — from costume to transportation to the music itself.

Proceeds are used to cover expenses as well as fund scholarships for music majors. The scholarship program has been going on for over 30 years. Baggett says graduating seniors receive money, but it is college students who continue as music majors who have received the bulk of those funds.

In addition to Supper of Song, the choir will hold their annual Madrigal Dinner — an evening of musical theater, this year featuring King Arthur and Guinevere — as well as their winter and spring performances.

According to a news release, the Nevada Union High School Choir, now in its 68th year, is an "internationally acclaimed Nevada Union Choir program, dedicated to producing outstanding choral music and providing educational opportunities for high school students of all musical ability. The Nevada Union Choir Program is dedicated to giving every student the opportunity to learn and perform the finest of choral music regardless of singing ability or socioeconomic status and providing a place for dedicated students of the art form to excel."

Baggett said he is happy to share the importance of music and music programs for our youth.

"Music and the arts should be required study just like science and math," he said "We required students to do math and if they aren't good at it, we require tutoring. We assume if someone is not good in music, it's just not their thing. But I disagree. They just need extra tutoring too, and we should be starting them when they are young. I think we would have a completely different society if that were the case. People would just grow up with music as part of their experience."

"Music brings people together and forms immeasurable bonds and connections between us," he said. "Come experience the music and meet this year's choirs. Enjoy the program as each group is show cased while you enjoy a relaxing meal."

And, at the same time, attendees will be supporting Interfaith Food Ministry.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Nevada Union High School Choir presents 2nd annual Supper of Song

WHERE: NU Café at Nevada Union High School

WHEN: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday

TICKETS: Free admission with donation of canned food (Raffle, dinner, and music)

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