Students present ‘American Patchwork’ of music

Carolyn Stiles directs the Sounds Grand Orchestra Oct. 25 during a performance featuring Grand County high and middle school strings and choir students. Photo by Anthony Militano

Grand County middle and high school strings and choir students presented an American Patchwork on Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Grand County High School auditorium.

“A patchwork is a pattern for making a quilt,” explained Music Director Carolyn Stiles. “Different patterns were used in the past by using leftover materials or making a pattern using something significant or an important moment in time.

“There are two ideas in this theme that guided our song choices for tonight,” she continued. “First is American, for patriotism, for important events in America. Patchwork is putting together the things that we love or that makes us feel warm and fuzzy.

“An assignment each student was asked to do was make a patch that represented what they liked or loved or what makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside,” Stiles added. “That is what you see projected behind you tonight. You also saw our paper quilt as you came in the auditorium tonight. Take a look as you exit tonight and see if you can find your child’s work in our warm and fuzzy quilt.”

The choirs kicked off the evening with the “Star Spangled Banner.” Middle school strings students performed a creative rendition of “Phantom Dance,” by Chuck Elledge.

The Sounds Grand Orchestra, comprised of advanced middle and high school strings students, played pure Americana standards, such as “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa, but they also mixed it up a little and played Soon Hee Newbold’s version of “Celtic Roots.” Grand County High School student Hayden Lance entertained the audience with two solo performances.

The highlight of the seventh-grade choir presentation was “I Bought Me A Cat.” The eighth grade students focused on familiar sing-along tunes, such as “My Favorite Things” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Mallory Maughan, Brecken Beck, Tanyon Griffith and Kaistin Oliver all sang choral solos. Maughan sang a particularly moving version of “Dancing in the Sky.” The lyrics were certainly sad, but Maughan’s slow cadence and underpowered tone was subtlety uplifting and inspirational.

The high school choir sang a fun rendition of “This Is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” along with an appropriately somber “Amazing Grace.”

The choirs from both schools ended the evening with “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood.