Choral fest hits high note with ‘Mucho Macho’ teen boys
The voices of more than 100 young men filled the auditorium at North Hills Junior High School for the “Mucho Macho Music” choral festival.
The seventh annual event, sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania, was created as a way to fulfill musical needs for boys in grades six through nine as their voices change. This year, boys from 15 schools in southwestern Pennsylvania participated in the program.
Rollo Dilworth, a nationally known conductor and composer of choral music who is an associate professor of music at Temple University in Philadelphia, was the guest conductor. The festival attracts students from a few new schools every year, said Shaun Cloonan, a North Hills School District music teacher, who is active in the event.
Cloonan, 32, of Churchill has been involved in the music festival every year. As the eighth-grade music teacher at North Hills Junior High School and a music teacher at West View Elementary, an event like this is very important to him.
“I hope it will teach them (boys) to appreciate the voices they have and have the excitement to continue music,” Cloonan said.
The boys worked on four pieces of music during the festival, including “Rest Not” by Laura Farnell, “Shine On Me” by Dilworth, “Kyrie Eleison” by Dan Davison and “Tell My Father” from the musical “The Civil War.”
Members of the Westminster College Men’s Chorus joined the boys to act as role models.
Westminster junior Kevin Tomb, 20, said he supports what the festival is trying to accomplish.
“It gives them (the younger boys) a chance to hear older voices and see that other people are going through the same thing,” said Tomb of Moon.
Westminster freshman Greg McClelland, 18, said the festival gives the boys a chance to sing in a larger group. It helps show them that once they get older, their voices stop cracking, said McClelland of Mercer County.
Some ninth-graders from North Hills Junior High agreed that listening to older voices is helpful.
This is the second year Nick Doyle and Nathan Spear, both 14, participated in the festival.
“The experience, the sound, having everyone together, it really helps us get to know our voices better,” said Doyle of West View.
Spear said it’s great to hear the college students, and it’s important to have this festival. For him, it’s a fun day because he is doing something that he likes.
“It’s important because a lot of guys don’t think it’s cool to sing. You see all these people who are really good, and it shows you where you can go with the music,” said Spear of Ross.