Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Terrace Students Sing with National Choir


Six Terrace Elementary School music students performed with a specially selected national children’s choir during a recent meeting in Ohio of music educators affiliated with the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE).

District students who journeyed with their choir director, Eric Murillo, to Columbus, Ohio, from March 20-23 included five fifth-graders and one fourth-grade singer. A seventh Terrace student, a fourth-grade singer, was also selected for the OAKE National Choir.

The students performed to a packed audience of nearly 2,500 conference goers in Mershon Auditorium on the campus of Ohio State University, a Big 10-affiliated university with a student enrollment as huge as the University of Texas at Austin.

Students who traveled to perform included Terrace fourth-grader Thien-Hau Do and fifth-graders Tiffany Arciniega, Hannah Carter, Jonathan Hogue, Genesis Moncada and Christopher Villanueva. Julian Robles, a fourth-grader, was a seventh choir student chosen from the Terrace Elementary Choir.

“I’m incredibly proud of these Timberwolves for successfully completing the difficult three-tiered OAKE audition process and for representing SBISD so well on our trip,” said Murillo, Terrace’s music teacher and one of this year’s recently announced district Campus Teachers of the Year.

“The memories these students made will last for some time to come, and my hope is that it will propel them to continue singing in choirs as they transition to middle and high school,” Murillo also said.

The OAKE organization draws its history and inspiration from the so-called Kodály method of children’s music education, also known as the Kodály concept, which was developed during the mid-20th century by Hungarian Zoltán Kodály. 

His philosophy of youth music education pairs child-appropriate development with rhythm, movement, sequence and notation learning. Once focused mostly inside Hungary, Kodály-based methods today are commonly used throughout the world.

In Columbus, the Terrace students joined more than 460 selected students from 184 cities across the United States and one international school as members of the 45th OAKE National Conference Choirs. 

Selected through an intense audition process, the Terrace singers performed pieces by G.F. Handel, Zoltán Kodály and other master composers. Student singers also sang the world premiere of a new choral work by American composer Douglas Beam.

Terrace students rehearsed with a highly regarded conductor and music teacher, Nyssa Brown, who teaches in The Hague, Netherlands, at the American School.

Fifth-grader Jonathon Hogue and fourth-grader Thien-Hau Do are big fans of Ms. Brown, the conductor.

“I loved the conductor. She was funny, nice and amazing,” said Thien-Hau, who has taken lessons since age 4 and plays many instruments of all skill levels – piano, drums, trumpet, bamboo flute and triangle. 

“It was so exciting to sing with the choir. It was so exciting my heart was racing and I was so glad when they applauded us so warmly,” she also said.

She might change her mind later, but right now Thien-Hau wants to teach music when she gets older.

Jonathan Hogue thinks his adult interests will be psychology, business and sports, but he enjoys singing and loved what occurred on stage with the OAKE National Choir.

“I think performing is fun because it’s so thrilling, and so great when the music makes a beautiful sound, and everyone claps for you!”

OAKE promotes itself as a national leader in the field of music education and teacher training with a mission “to support music education of the highest quality, promote universal musical literacy and lifelong music making, and preserve the musical heritage of the people of the United States through education, artistic performance, advocacy and research.”

For details or more information, please visit their website or the OAKE Educators Facebook page.