For almost two decades, the Cobb County School District has earned national recognition for being among the best communities for music education. Cobb’s Elementary Choral Festival is an example of the opportunities students have to explore and expand their interest in music.
Staying after school to rehearse and practicing at home, Cobb students dedicated months to prepare for their performance with the help of their music teachers before they boarded buses headed for the districtwide Elementary Choral Festival at Campbell High School. For many, it was their first time on a high school stage inside a large auditorium. The audience was not just filled with their parents and familiar faces. There were other students from across the county and judges.
It was the moment to let their voices shine and show the judges all that they had learned from their music teachers.
“Elementary Choral Festival and middle school and high school LGPE events are truly special days! It is wonderful to see each group come through and display their depth of knowledge for our subjects, whether it is the chorus, band, or orchestra,” said Dr. Joseph Woodruff, Cobb Schools Supervisor of General Music, Choral Music, Theatre, and Dance.
Elementary Choral Festival and the Middle School and High School Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) are the annual State performance assessments of student achievement for each school for Chorus, Band, and Orchestra.
Each year, nationally recognized experts in the field assess Cobb County music groups on every aspect of student and director performance. This evaluation is similar to the standardized tests or end-of-course exams given in other school courses. Students demonstrate their musical understanding and skill development through applied performance as well as sight-reading for both middle and high school groups.
“There are not many opportunities for students to display what they have learned in a disciplined class setting in such a joyous and celebratory way,” Dr. Woodruff added. “Their faces display that joy as they perform for the adjudicators!”
After each school’s performance, clinicians worked with the students on specific skills, providing individual feedback and instruction for every school.
Opportunities like the Elementary Choral Festival prepare Cobb elementary students to perform inside major sports arenas and at events throughout the Cobb community. The learning experience also serves as a glimpse of the music opportunities that await them in middle school and high school.
Many of the students who stepped on the stage of Campbell High School for the first time will go on to join their Cobb middle school and high school chorus, band, and orchestra programs where they could end up traveling across the country or even overseas to perform with their fellow students.