Practice pays off for choir students

DALLAS -- Four Dallas students were selected to attend the the National Association for Music Educators state convention honor choir in Eugene on Jan. 12-14.



DALLAS -- Four Dallas students were selected to attend the the National Association for Music Educators state convention honor choir in Eugene on Jan. 12-14.

Three of the students are from Dallas High School: freshman Robert Cadwallader, sophomore Marissa Francom and senior Maria Thackeray. The other is eighth grader Victoria Lindley from LaCreole Middle School.

The students were selected on the recommendation of Jacqueline Lusk, the choir director for both schools.

"They work so hard and I feel they deserve a little recognition," Lusk said.

To qualify, she said, the students "needed to have certain prescribed technical exercises, singing scales and arpeggios. They needed to show good technique and be able to sing the first verse of America the Beautiful," Lusk said.

The students had to make audition tapes and send them in to a selection committee.

Cadwallader sang in an all-male choir with about 150 other students from around the state. Francom performed in an all-female choir, also with about 150 students. Thackeray and Lindley sang in mixed choirs.

Lusk said she is proud of her students and what they can accomplish with limited musical instruction. She runs two part time choir programs between the two schools, and even that is more than they had a few years ago.

After budget cuts in 2000, music programs were the first to go. Lusk lost her longtime position at LaCreole. She was able to return part-time when funding resurfaced.

"These programs really need to be full-time," Lusk said.

But even under part-time instruction, Lusk's students are known throughout the state. This isn't the first year she has sent choirs students to honor choir -- last year, as well, three of her songbirds attended the state conference.



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