WASHINGTON — Area high school choir members will become part of history Saturday when they perform during the opening ceremony for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“I never thought I would do anything like this,” said Dominique Treadwell-Abrams, 16, from the Center for Visual and Performing Arts at Suitland High School in Forestville, Maryland, who is among participating choir members.
Treadwell-Abrams said she’s excited to sing for the president and other dignitaries at the historic museum.
“It’s going to celebrate African Americans as a whole,” she said of the new museum. “I’m just happy that we have our own museum and I’m excited to sing at it and be part of the occasion.”
The combined 200-person choir performing Saturday also includes members from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda.
“It’s something that when you see it, it kind of gives you chills,” CVPA Program Coordinator Maria Saldana said of the group effort.
Proud of her students for receiving this honor, Saldanya said she has to remind herself how young they all are.
“We just are so used to them being so mature and talented and focused,” Saldana said.
(Students performing in the clip include: Keyshon Jones, 12th grade, of District Heights, Maryland; Madison Holmes, 9th grade of District Heights; Samaria Currie, 11th grade of District Heights; Lauryn Smith, 12th grade of Temple Hills, Maryland; Charles Butler 12th grade of District Heights, Dominique Treadwell-Abrams, 11th grade of Bladensburg, Md.)
They certainly put in a lot of work. In addition to traditional studies, the children’s focus on the arts keeps them in classes an hour-and-a-half beyond the regular school day. Students have to maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 with no failing grades.
Students receive voice lessons every week, ranging from 30-45 minutes, said choir director Ken Boucher, who is also the chair of music education at Suitland High School. Students also take music theory classes ever day. Upperclassmen rehearse in ensembles every day of the week.
In addition to vocal majors, the school trains children in piano, visual art, dance, theater and TV production.
“It’s a little bit unusual for a high school, but it’s very common to us,” Saldana said.
Eighth and ninth graders from all over Prince George’s County are eligible to audition to attend CVPA. If accepted, they’re provided free transportation to the school. The applications window to apply join the school is Oct. 1 through Feb. 1, 2017. Find application information here.
SHS’ CVPA will become part of history on 9/24/16 at @NMAAHC‘s grand opening @ 9AM Join us @pgcps @SuitlandHigh1 pic.twitter.com/QAjCHSSGyQ
— CVPA_SuitlandHS (@CVPA) September 8, 2016
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