The MCHS Choir sings the National Anthem at the 2011 homecoming football game.

Photo by Robert Crossman, Blue Print

The MCHS Choir sings the National Anthem at the 2011 homecoming football game.

Tuning up

Six plus schools from all over the western slope gather together for one day to share their love of music.

Choir Director, Heather Dahlberg, spends the first nine weeks of school preparing her students for several things. Fall Vocal Clinic is one of the most important.

Schools from all over the Western Slope gather at Rifle High school for a day of singing with a clinician The MCHS choral department goes every year not only to perform, but also see to what other schools are doing to be better. This is not a competition though. To senior Jordyn Caddy, Fall Vocal Clinic is when a clinician comes to Rifle High school to help all choral groups become better at singing by teaching them new techniques like breath support. Unlike a regular concert, Dahlberg doesn't direct her students. That job is left to the clinician, a highly qualified musician selected by Daryl Gingrich, the host of the clinic. Dalhberg doesn't just sit there though, her job is to watch how her students handle performing with people they've only rehearsed with for a few hours. "She gets crazy during concerts. But she is her funny, crazy self," said freshman Trenton Lee. Jordyn Caddy looks at it differently. "She knows what she is doing. She pushes us to our maximum and wants us to be great. She strives for it," said Caddy. Dahlberg sees Fall Vocal Clinic as a "performance opportunity" before the winter concert. On occasion, she takes the music from Rifle and uses it for her own concerts. Pursuing that, her students already know the music pretty well. Dahlberg also says that the clinic is a learning experience that teaches her students what to do and what not to do in terms of performance and behavior. It teaches new ideas on how to present a better vocal sound. Dahlberg says that it gives the MCHS choir a new sense of pride because they look and act professional. After Fall Vocal Clinic, Dahlberg only has one hope for her students. "I hope they walk away with more performance experience and also more musical experience."

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