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RHS choir coincidence brings a hometown collaboration

Courtesy of Daryl Gingrich

Recently, in an effort to find more local composers a high school choir director stumbled upon a piece that fit a Rifle High School choir perfectly, and also happened to be written by an elementary music teacher working in the same district. That teacher is Andrew Miller, who currently has six pieces published, including the song “As the Sun Opens the Flower”. KDNK’s Hattison Rensberry asked Miller about what it was like to have students in the same district perform the song, the intention behind the piece, and what he would change if he could.

"Miller:
That happens every once in a while where I'll run into a teacher that I know that says, Hey, I found your, your song online, and we ordered it. Um, but it hasn't ever happened, just like right there in my hometown without me knowing about it. So that was pretty awesome. If there was one thing about this piece, honestly, that I would want everyone to know, um, when I wrote it, I didn't have really any belief in anything.
Um, I was searching, you know, it's one of those like soul searching moments in life where you just wake up one day and you're like, well, what I'm doing right now and what I believe about life, my whole worldview is not working. And so I need to see things differently. And, um, there's a, there's some words in the middle that it communicates to the listener- You are a beloved seed of the world, the apple of the earth's eye. And now I wouldn't tell that to anyone because people are much, much more than that. We are much more beautiful and our spirits. Center, our souls are much more complex.

Rensberry:
KDNK later spoke to two of the Altos from Daryl Gingrich's Bel Canto Choir to learn more about their experience of working directly with the composer of their competition piece.

Maria:
My name is Maria,-

Emily:
-and my name's Emily.

Maria:
It was really fun because he was an elementary teacher, and so he used a lot of funny metaphors in a way to give us a visual on how to sing, like the running lizard going across the lake so we could have a. Further range on some of the parts that we had to sing on.

Emily:
It was very different from Mr. Gingrich. He had a lot of different ways of looking at how we sing and he, he was very fun. It was very nice. I liked that it was his own piece and he had a lot of emotion with like the lyrics and stuff.

Maria:
I liked the song because it's a really beautiful song, and the way that you sing it. And he kind of gave us more of a way to get more of an understanding and telling us kind of why he wrote that song. So it just kind of gave us an even bigger visual and like I want people to feel the same way that we're feeling when we sing the song. It was really fun to be able to hear him talk about his song, like why he wrote it and stuff. It's so cute that he wrote it for his students.

Rensberry:
The young ladies walked away from the rehearsal process and competition with a positive attitude towards the work they put into the piece, and a new understanding of the complexity that comes with musical intention.
For KDNK News, I'm Hattison Rensberry."

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.