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Mamaroneck Schools Harmonize in District Choral Festival

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Cierra Casher is in middle school, but Tuesday she shared the McLain Auditorium stage with high school choral students like Julia Gedigk to sing in the district-wide Choral Festival featuring approximately 200 students from all levels of the Mamaroneck School District.

Casher, 12, was the first of several soloists to take to the microphone during the performance of "Hallelujah" by the combined Hommocks Middle School and Mamaroneck High School (MHS) choirs.

"What's really exciting is this year we've combined high school and Hommocks so we can team together," said Dina Madden, music coordinator for the district and director of the MHS choir. "We rehearsed with them and had some workshops together with them."

Even before Casher took the stage, high school choral students and parents kept stopping her in the hallway to say how great they thought her voice was. The seventh-grader, who was the narrator in the Hommocks' recent production of "Joseph and the Amazing Techni Color Dream Coat," said she enjoyed working with the high school's music department.

Gedigk, 17, enjoyed the influx of voices to work with from Hommocks and fifth graders from all four elementary schools.

"It's an amazing experience because in choir class we only have 20 students," said the Larchmont resident, who is also a cheerleader. "I loved singing with over 100 more."

The district holds a music festival each year that features either the choir, orchestra or band. Next year it will feature the orchestra, and the year after, the band. This year, the band and orchestra at each level in the district will instead perform for the other schools -- the high school choir will perform for the middle and elementary schools, and vise versa.

"It's a nice sampling of our choral program district-wide," Madden said. "It gives everyone a taste of where our vocal program is and what we do vocally. It also allows elementary students to see what they can do at the middle level and also the high school level."

Casher said she plans to continue singing in the choir through high school and perhaps beyond. Gedigk, who joined the high school choir her sophomore year, said she hopes to sing in college.

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