Welby Elementary to perform on Utah Grizzlies’ home iceMar 31, 2023 12:13PM ● By Julie Slama
Katherine Ross Hejazi-Far will direct the 106 members of Welby’s Choir, seen here at the Salt Lake Family Christmas Show in November, at the April 8 Utah Grizzlies game. (Photo courtesy of Welby Elementary)
Shortly before the Utah Grizzlies challenge the Idaho Steelheads on April 8, 106 school children will take to the ice.
As members of Welby Elementary’s choir, the third- through sixth-graders will perform “God Bless America” before the face off.
“The choir is excited; this is such a cool opportunity,” said choir director Katherine Ross Hejazi-Far. “I was looking at outside school performing opportunities when I saw this. It’s the pregame spot before the national anthem, so I reached out.”
Welby’s choir also sang at the Salt Lake Family Christmas Show in November.
“I love giving them opportunities to sing beyond school assemblies and concerts, to broaden their experiences. Many of them are familiar with sports and they’ve seen on TV, perhaps at the Super Bowl, how big it can be to see the national anthem. It’s mixing their worlds, giving them opportunities to perform,” she said.
Hejazi-Far is planning to have the choir sing a two-part rendition of the patriotic song.
“It’s a beautiful version that is easy to learn so we can rehearse it plenty before our performance. I’m trying to keep it simple in case any of the students get too nervous,” she said, adding that her students will either wear their Welby Wildcat gear or school colors.
The choir also will perform the song as part of their spring concert, on a yet to-be-determined date in late April or early May. Its theme will be “kindness and positivity.”
“We’ll sing ‘Count on Me’ by Bruno Mars so their friends know they’ll be there for them and we have a song ‘The Lighthouse’ which has an uplifting message about being a lighthouse for their friends. We also will perform some happy songs about the colors and spring,” she said.
This is Hejazi-Far’s second year instructing music at Welby as the Beverley Taylor Sorenson music specialist. She previously taught seven years split between teaching in Alpine School District and in Virginia.
Welby’s choir program increased from 35 students her first year to 80 last year to more than 100 this year.
“I go deeper in choir than just singing a melody. We explore what is harmony and have 50 students on part one and 50 on part two and make sure they listen to each other. They learn what it means to be in an ensemble and are getting experience being in a large choir,” she said.
Hejazi-Far teaches music to every class about once per week. She uses GAMEPLAN curriculum as her base resource, then adds opportunities for the school children. She teaches fourth graders the recorder. Students learn to play a kid-size xylophone, the triangle and rhythm sticks.
“I teach general music education, so we touch on everything. They learn about rhythm, different genres of music, study composers, and of course, do a lot of singing,” she said. “The students seem to like the music classes so then they join the choir. I like giving them new places to showcase their art. A lot of kids said they’ve never been to a hockey game, so this is giving them an opportunity to perform and a new opportunity to see a game.”