Reedy Students Hit the Right Note in Masterclass

Paul Smith of VOCES8 Leads Reedy Choir

From attorneys and doctors to athletes and musicians, Frisco ISD students regularly engage with professionals in their fields of interest. 

Recently, Reedy Choir Director Jimmy Robertson was able to connect students with the British vocal ensemble VOCES8, an international touring group, for a private choir masterclass. VOCES8 collaborates with musicians, orchestras, conductors and soloists around the world and is renowned for its versatility and celebration of diverse musical expression.

Reedy Senior Charlie Kirby has been in choir since fourth grade when she joined the FISD Honor Choir and was excited to expand her repertoire. She recently advanced to Pre-Area as part of the All-Region choir and wants to teach music as an adult.

“This opportunity will allow us to grow as individuals and collectively create one voice while exploring a different style of musical expression,” Kirby said. “I am lucky to have had several inspiring lessons and directors who have impacted my artist exploration and I want to do that for another generation of students.”

When VOCES8 arrived, the students were eager for feedback and performed a piece they had been working on for the past couple of weeks.

Reedy Choir Works with VOCES8 leader Paul Smith

VOCES8 founder Paul Smith was quick to seek spectator and student participation and speak to all of the positive qualities that the students and the director embodied in their performance.

“These students have great balance and an incredible grasp of melody,” Smith said before running the students through several vocalizations that involved a mix of verbal and physical exercises.

Soon, members of the VOCES8 ensemble were working their way through the students who were grouped by part and providing feedback that both bettered each individual singer and the group as a whole.

“I want my students to experience as much as they can in my class and this masterclass is an incredible opportunity,” Robertson said. “Through this masterclass, they are learning techniques and how to better connect with each other.”

Reedy Choir Masterclass

In a row of chairs to the side, parents of the choir students were in attendance to witness the masterclass in person and were clearly moved by the lesson. Scott and Tanya Smith, parents of senior Amber Smith, shared that they moved to Frisco in 2012 because of the unique, extensive fine arts programming available in Frisco ISD.

“Fine arts builds character and confidence for these young men and women as they get closer to going out in the world,” the Smiths said. “We love Frisco ISD and the high school model that allows more students the opportunity to participate in the arts.”

Across the stage, the energy of the room where students were hard at work internalizing the masterclass was palpable.

“Vocal music is one of our oldest traditions,” said Rob Draper, fine arts coordinator. “Connecting students with a group that excels in all genres, from early to modern, helps students to connect their musical experience to their own lives and learning.”

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