Eight members of the Saxe Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus were selected to represent their school in this year's Connecticut American Choral Directors Association Middle School Honor Choir.

Caroline Callahan, Will Dooley, Lauren Ferrara, Kaitlyn Piotroski, Claire Leville, Logan Otis, Natalie Rau and Lauren Smith are students of Saxe choral director Sarah Gleason, who is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Connecticut chapter.

The student performance was part of the ACDA Fall Conference, which took place at Manchester Community College Oct. 19.

The honor choir was comprised of 100 middle school singers from all over Connecticut.

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The students were nominated by their school's choral director and participated as part of a quartet -- soprano 1, soprano 2, alto, baritone -- representing their school.

"The students prepared four challenging pieces of music in the month prior," Gleason said, "and traveled to rehearse on Saturday with conductor Marcos Carreras, who is nationally renowned for his work with middle school singers. That afternoon they performed at the college to a sold-out audience of state music officials, regional composers, choral directors from across Connecticut, and their families.

"The songs they performed were by four remarkable and well-published contemporary composers, Amy Bernon, Robert Hugh, Jim Papoulis and Rollo Dilworth. Most impressive was that all four composers were at the conference to work with the students on their particular piece of music and speak with them about the creative process of composing and performing. This was truly an incredible opportunity for these eighth grade choral students to sing with and for the composers of each of their songs, with such a talented ensemble. Our school and its choral program were well represented by this talented group of young musicians."

"These eight middle school singers were nominated by their teacher Sarah Gleason and had to meet some very strict requirements in order to participate," said Alan Sneath, New Canaan Public Schools' director of visual and performing arts.

"They had to be strong music readers and ensemble singers, devote rehearsal time at home and at school to learn four challenging pieces of music and they had to rehearse much of the day of their performance.

"Prior to the day of the performance, they had not practiced with the other ninety-two members of the choir. And to make this an even more incredible experience, our students were given the opportunity to sing to the composers who had actually written the music they were singing."