For the past 26 years, middle school choir students have
been coming together for a clinic each fall to develop their skills. This year’s
event brought 400 students to Rocky Mountain Middle School in Idaho Falls.
There is a TV show called the Dog Whisperer. There is a
movie called the Horse Whisperer. And then there is Professor Michael Nuss who
can calm down a gymnasium full of middle school students and get them to
produce beautiful music.
“I literally had to go get our administrators and say ‘come
in here and watch this. Have you ever seen 400 kids focused all on one thing at
the same time?” said Alana Butikofer, choir director for RMMS.
The clinic was made up of students representing eight
different schools. They prepared for the event by practicing the songs at their
individual schools and then Dr. Nuss brings them all together.
“You just hear the people around you and it’s really cool
just hearing everybody singing the same song in the correct way,” said Harper
Clayton of Rocky Mountain Middle School.
“It’s just you and the other people and it’s just you
focused on that and just trying to finish your goal,” said Ryan Day of Mountain
View Middle school in Blackfoot.
After just a few hours of training the students were able to execute
near military level precision and gain a little confidence.
“It makes me feel like I should sing more in life and be a
better singer,” said Zack Hillman of Mountain View Middle School.
The clinic organizer says that confidence will benefit these
young minds beyond the stage.
“Studies are proven that all students do better in all
subjects if they are involved in any kind of music program,” said Butikofer.
Some of the graduates of the clinic have gone on to other
choirs in their adult lives. This includes the Mormon Tabernacle.