Local student named to national honor choir
Elizabeth Santiago, an eighth-grade student at Diplomat Middle School, traveled to Oklahoma City with her mother Tuesday to represent Lee County in the National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir.
Diplomat choral director Jussi Doherty described Santiago, 14, as “a kind of an all-around great student.”
The only representative from Lee County, Santiago will join others from across the country in performing a number of songs such as “Come Travel With Me,” “Little Liza” and “Words of Lincoln.”
Doherty said there are close to 15 students from other parts of Florida also joining the performance.
Doherty sponsored Santiago for the student choir, managed by the American Choral Directors Association, and helped her prepare an audition recording.
“We had to prepare an audition recording. She stayed after school and had to sing several things, including some scales showing her range as well as ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee,'” said Doherty.
Once accepted into the choir, Santiago and others were mailed a compact disc and sheet music so they could learn the songs before arriving in Oklahoma City. Starting today, the choir will begin practicing together and a performance will be staged Saturday.
The National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir will be conducted this year by Dr. Judy Bowers from Florida State University.
Santiago is an alto II, meaning she has the lowest female voice in the choir. The choir consists of boys and girls ranging from soprano and alto to tenor and bass.
“It is my first time I’ve ever had students audition,” said Doherty.
Members of the choir spend most of their time rehearsing for the concert Saturday, but Doherty said they are encouraged to attend other concerts in their free time.
Santiago has represented Diplomat Middle in the Florida All-State Choir for the last two years and is president of the school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is also involved in the district’s history fair, and her Odyssey of the Mind team recently took first place.
According to Doherty, Santiago intends on enrolling in a choral program next year at North Fort Myers High, the West Zone’s school for the arts.
In 2007, Diplomat Middle School was named an Arts Achieve Model School and Music Demonstration School for its dedication to the arts.
For more information on the choir, visit: acda.org.