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Sarasota Middle School’s "Joyful Voices" on Their Way to Nashville

by Nadia Sawa, Choir Director at Sarasota Middle School

SARASOTA COUNTY, February 5, 2020 – On February 13-17, students in Sarasota Middle School’s (SMS) "Joyful Voices" choir, under the direction of Nadia Sawa, will be travelling to perform in Nashville, TN, also affectionately known as "Music City, U.S.A.”. This is the first time the SMS choir will be travelling out of state to perform. While in Nashville, the students will have a chance to visit some of the city's most famous sights including the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the Parthenon, and Centennial Park. They will save the best for last when they perform at the great-granddaddy of them all, the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in a recording session at the famous RCA Studio B, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The "Joyful Voices" choir works hard throughout the year to train and grow their musicality. Students take part in annual music performance assessments within Sarasota County Schools and continually receive Superior ratings (the highest possible rating). The choir performs several concerts during the year which are always free and open to the public in an effort to promote music and the arts within the community. These include their impressive Veterans Day tribute concert, in which they recognize and salute the men and women who serve our great country, and also the much-anticipated Renaissance concert, performed annually at the holidays together with Riverview High School’s choir, in full Renaissance-era garb and period banqueting.

In year's past, the "Joyful Voices" choir has travelled to compete in music festivals at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens. Last year, they received tremendous accolades for their preparation and performance of The Music Man. The members of “Joyful Voices” regularly perform at various community events as well, including at the grand opening of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in 2017 and at the annual Inspire Sarasota Family Festival, which features over 40 local youth performances and is a project of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. Out of everything that they do, they particularly enjoy their community outreach performances, which include visiting with elderly residents in local nursing and assisted living facilities and bringing smiles to children in the local hospital.

"I'm particularly excited for this amazing visit to Nashville that's coming up for us. You not only see the music in Nashville, but you can feel the music in that great city that has so many iconic venues, artists and record labels associated with it. These kids have been working hard to get ready for this and I can just about guarantee that it's going to make the impression of a lifetime on them. As for me, as a music professional, I'm so blessed and thrilled to have the support of my school administration, who so clearly sees the value of supporting music and the arts in schools, the parents who work tirelessly to help me plan, promote, fundraise, and organize, and of course, the talented students who continuously inspire me by their infectious excitement and pursuit of musical excellence," said Ms. Sawa, a 17-year professional with Sarasota County Schools. Ms. Sawa also serves as a Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts (C/SPA) liaison for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and received the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s Teacher of the Year award in 2010.

For additional information about the Sarasota Middle’s "Joyful Voices" choir trip to Nashville, TN, please contact Nadia Sawa at Nadia.sawa@sarasotacountyschools.net or at (941) 361-6464.