The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum


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Patchy rain nearby

MMEA Participants Perform at Conference

A Cappella, Orchestra students proud of successes
Yoni Zacks
Chamber Orchestra accompanied A Capella Choir at 8:45 a.m. on Feb 17 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

As state tournaments for sports take center stage, the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Midwinter Conference provides arts students with their moment in the spotlight. Choir Director Natalia Romero describes the conference as “the state gathering for all the music educators in Minnesota.”

At this year’s conference, students in the A Capella Choir and Chamber Orchestra had the honor of performing. Romero and Orchestra Director Brian Lukkasson have planned this performance for nine months. “[We applied in] May, and what you have to do is apply the previous year for the next year. We had to submit recordings of the choir, the orchestra, and the two together. We have to fill out a really long application [with questions such as] how often do we rehearse, what is the age of the kids, what kind of school is this. Then we had to write the rationale for the concert. What’s the benefit that other educators would get from hearing our performance,” Romero explained. 

The theme for the concert, “Monarch Migration,” was inspired by many things. “The orchestra did a piece called ‘Monarch Migration’ and that got us thinking about this idea of migration and journeys. With the author who’s coming in [Aimee Nezhukumatathil and her book,] ‘World of Wonder,’ there was a section about monarch butterflies that I loved, and they have four life stages…We thought that was a good representation of high school. There’s four years… and they all go through their own journeys. Then they go off into the world,” Romero remarked.

“We had to put a lot of work in, a lot of effort into each piece we performed, and it was also really fun as we got to hang out with people we like to hang out with,” Alan Hodder ‘25, a member of the A Capella Choir, remarked. 

Hodder added that “there [were] a lot of shenanigans going on during the rehearsals… there were a lot of challenges we had to go through. Language was a big one, we really had to deal with that. There’s a wide variety of music and it’s good music.” According to Romero, there were 5 languages featured in the performance: English, Hebrew, Spanish, Lakota, and Latvian.

Macaella Sikhoya ‘25, also part of A Capella Choir, said “Leading up to it, it was really climactic because it was a really big deal, we made state for choir. We worked really hard, we went in during FLEX periods, we worked a lot outside of class. Day of, we were all like ‘oh my gosh, this is such a big deal.’ As much as we were trying to be professional, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wanted to really enjoy it.”

Romero also felt the concert was a huge success. “It went amazing, it was the best performance we had. They sang and played beautifully, but they really had heart onstage. I really felt like they communicated the message, the stories, they were so expressive. I was in tears at the last performance. I was proud,” Romero said. 

Students also enjoyed the experience. “At the end of the day, some of the songs we performed were the best versions of those songs,” Sikhoya shared. 

Hodder enjoyed the experience of combining the orchestra and choir. “We also got to play with the orchestra which was a blast… it was definitely a fun experience. Everyone sounded great,” Hodder said. 

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About the Contributor
Yoni Zacks, Managing Editor
Hi! My name is Yoni Zacks, and I am a junior. I am a Managing Editor and the Online Editor. I also edit the front and opinion pages. I have been writing for Spectrum since the first cycle of my freshman year, and this is my fourth semester as an editor. I have always loved to read the newspaper, and I'm so excited that I get to write for one! Outside of Spectrum, I like to watch sports (Go Canucks Go!), play tennis, and discuss politics.

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