Singing School

Are you looking for a good, Christian place to send your child for a week? Maybe you want your son/nephew/boy-down-the-block to work on public speaking skills and/or learn how to lead songs in an acappella setting? Or perhaps your daughter/niece/girl-selling-cookies-at-your-door enjoys singing in choir, or is looking to learn a little bit about it before trying out for a position next school year? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the Alva School of Music is the place for you!

Though this church camp with homework is literally right around the corner, with sign ins happening at 3 on Sunday, June 7th, there is still time to register your child. Singing School (as we affectionately call it) takes place from Sunday afternoon through Friday, culminating Friday night in choral performance put on by the female, male, and mixed choirs. The College Hill church of Christ in Alva Oklahoma hosts this event every year, even providing the next door “Bible Chair” for recreation times, giving the students a chance to challenge each other’s hand-eye coordination is rousing games of ping-pong and air hockey.

While your student is learning these useful singing and people skills, they will stay in a home provided by one of our fabulous church members, be fed breakfast and supper at their host’s house and lunch at the church building. They will be placed in ‘Huddle Groups”, which are smaller mixed groups of students that are a team for games, put on a skit for the Thursday night Talent Show (always a blast!), and provide moral support for each other as they sing and, for the boys, as they lead devotionals.

Our female choral lessons are taught by Nancy Stansberry, a beautiful soul inside and out (who just so happens to be the wife and mother of a few more super talented musicians…look up Mark Stansberry {author, musician, Oklahoma Board of Regents, etc etc etc} and Matt Stansberry and the Romance Jazz Band…and Joe Stansberry musician as well…they are a talented family!}. Nancy’s husband Mark often comes in to visit throughout the week, as well as performing in the Talent Show with her. They also usually perform a song or two with Chris Johnson and Drew Broussard, our two male choral leaders (they often split the group into upper and lower ages for learning to lead singing). Chris is a counselor, missionary, and musician while Drew is a musician, missionary, and teacher. They all love to help students grow and learn to be their best.

Our 3 teachers are fun, hard working, and loving individuals who help make this week memorable for all involved! Holding it all together are teacher/principal Doug Gunselman, and minister/teacher/author/collegeminister/time keeper Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree (who also performs a diddy or two, usually randomly throughout the week!).

Singing School has provided countless hours of fun and singing for dozens upon dozens of 10-18 year old students and your loved one could be next! SO HURRY! Don’t pass this opportunity up! The first full week of June only comes around once a year! Throw in some ping-pong, an afternoon of water play, and life long friendships and you’ve got the Alva Singing School!

Musical Quandry

I will admit something to you, something that is a deep and well engrained piece of my psyche – I am a band nerd. I do not say this with shame, like some people would as they snatch away old pictures and wave it all away. No, I say this pride and a little bit of cockiness, I Am A BAND NERD! I love to play, I even loved to march, and I love seeing, and hearing, all of the different bands from young children learning, to high school honors, and on up to the collegiate and professional worlds.

Last night I was excited to attend a concert, my first after coming back ‘home,’ that included the choirs and both the concert and jazz bands from our local college. Having been a proud Ranger Band member (RIDE RANGERS RIDE!) and a music major for almost an entire year, I was interested to see what the ‘new guy’ had accomplished this semester. I would just like to say, the choir was amazing.

The small town in Texas that I grew up in did not offer choir, and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket unless you hand me an instrument, so I never tried out for choir. When I moved into a high school that offered the option, I quickly learned something that has turned out to be almost universal, we have issues! With the exception of a few that walk the line between the groups, band kids and choir kids have a rivalry that spans the years and budget, and we blame each other for almost everything.

I mention that to tell you this, the North Western Oklahoma State University Choir did exactly what they set out to do last night, they filled the auditorium, and those of us within it, with the resonating beauty of their voices and rejuvenated my inner muse so that I was busy writing as soon as intermission began.
Then there was the band. Now I know that I am incredibly biased. When I was in band, we were a family. To quote a great a movie, “One Band, One Sound!”.  Added to that and probably the cause of it, I had two of the most amazing band directors any student could ever ask for. I was pushed, taught, praised, tuned, and occasionally grounded by two men whose love of their students was surpassed by their love of music. There won’t be many who I feel live up to those I was blessed enough to learn under.

However, the facts are that the band has dropped to a sad few and is being treated as a beginner group by their director. Both of the groups were excessively tuned on stage beforehand, something that I had not seen in a concert since my early junior high years, and they were still having difficulties. Part of this was answered when we learned that at least two of the students had not been in a band before, an admission made when the director handed out awards as if they were in high school band. On the whole, I am so much of a band nerd that I feel embarrassed for them. But the choir was lovely.

May they all find their place and pull together to form the type of band family that once called the Fine Arts building its home, and may you all be blessed by music and love today, and every day.