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Weeping Water students sing at state convention

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LINCOLN – Five Weeping Water students made musical memories this past week during their trip to the Nebraska Music Educators Association All-State Convention.

Jayde Collins, Wyatt Shane, Samantha Burch, Matt Cover and Berenger Leonard took part in vocal music activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus Nov. 17-19. Collins and Shane represented the district in the All-State Children’s Choir, and Burch, Cover and Leonard showcased their talents in the All-State Chorus.

Weeping Water teacher Kim Hammer said she was happy to see the five students enjoy their time at the convention. They participated in rehearsals and concerts in front of statewide audiences.

“The NMEA Convention last week saw lots of smiling WWPS faces,” Hammer said. “It was a great time of music making for everyone.”

Collins and Shane joined students from across Nebraska on the morning of Nov. 17. The All-State Children’s Choir rehearsed in the morning and afternoon before presenting a concert at 4 p.m.

Penny Dimmick served as conductor for the All-State Children’s Choir. She has spent the past 30 years teaching in the Department of Music at Butler University. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Taylor University and master’s and doctoral degrees in music education and percussion performance from Ball State University.

Burch, Cover and Leonard began rehearsing on Nov. 17 and took part in a concert on the afternoon of Nov. 19. Burch sang in the Alto II section of the All-State group. Cover and Leonard both performed in the Tenor II section.

Guest conductor Dr. Lee Nelson led the high school group. He is director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He has led college students on trips to 12 countries over the past ten years. Nelson has also conducted groups at Carnegie Hall five times.

Burch, Cover and Leonard sang “Your Voices Tune,” “Liebst du um Schonheit,” “We Can Mend the Sky,” “I Will Be a Child of Peace,” “Blessed Be!” and “Rejoice!” The All-State Chorus performed the songs with piano and percussion accompanists.

Hammer, who is the vocal music instructor at Weeping Water, was recognized at the annual NMEA banquet on Thursday evening. She received the NMEA 35-Year Music Teacher Award in front of her colleagues from across the state.

Hammer has spent the past 35 years teaching vocal and instrumental music to students throughout Nebraska. She has led student groups at Ponca, Ralston, Holy Name, Central Christian and Weeping Water.

The Coleridge native earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred music from North Central University in Minneapolis in 1982. She obtained a bachelor of music education degree from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., in 1984.

Hammer oversees all K-12 vocal music activities at Weeping Water. She was the 2006 winner of the Freda Drath Battey Distinguished Educator Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Education and Human Sciences.

Hammer has also helped Weeping Water earn the prestigious NMEA Music Participation Recognition Award. School districts receive the honor for having 65 percent of high school students involved in music-based activities.

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