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Meet the Warren Hills Treble Makers

By David Boyce

When fifth grader Claire Bogaard first heard that the Treble Makers at Warren Hills Elementary was selected to perform at the annual Missouri Music Association Conference in Tan-Tar-A Resort, she thought her ears were playing tricks on her.

“Did I hear that right? Do I need to check my ears,” she said?

Now that it is a reality, fifth grader Laila Troxler wants to make the January 28th performance at Tan-Tar-A Resort a day to remember.

“I am really excited for it,” Troxler said.  “This is one of the big things in the year I can talk about.”

It is quite an honor for the Treble Makers, which started last year when Jennifer Patterson arrived at Warren Hills as the music instructor after teaching in the Raytown school district.  She had a similar group at her previous school.

“It is neat to see how kids can come together and give them that extra music experience outside the school day,” Patterson said.  “It is nice for the elementary kids to see what is coming and get that excitement and that love of music and that camaraderie of being part of an ensemble, so hopefully they will continue on, whether it is band, choir, or orchestra, into their middle school and high school years.”

Fourth and fifth graders have to try out for the Treble Makers.  Patterson thought so much of how the group sounded, that last May she had them recorded for a blind audition for the annual Missouri Music Association Conference.

Troxler and Bogaard were part of the first Treble Makers.

“Even if we don’t make it, it was pretty cool to send in a CD of us singing and stuff, and if we don’t make it, we can try again,” Troxler said.

The odds of making it to the January 28 performance were slim.  The Treble Makers were one of 172 groups that sent in CDs.  They ranged from elementary schools through high schools and colleges and also included community groups.  Out of the 172 entries, only 32 were selected, and Warren Hills was one of three elementary schools in the entire state of Missouri chosen.

“The kids that were in the group last year were the kids that were recorded for our audition,” Patterson said.  “It is a blind audition process where they have out-of-state music teachers from Kansas, Iowa, Texas, wherever, and they listen to the recordings and grade them on a scale, and that lets the organization know which groups to invite.”

The current Treble Makers will give their performance on January 28.  For this year’s Treble Makers, 50 students tried out for 25 spots.

“I think this is really cool, because Laila and I were two Treble Makers from last year,” Bogaard said.  “We have the pride of knowing we were part of the group that got us into Tan-Tar-A.”

The fun begins for the Treble Makers a week before their performance at Tan-Tar-A.  At 7 p.m., Thursday, January 21, at Liberty North, they will perform the six songs they will do at Tan-Tar-A.  The performance at Liberty North is free and open to the public.  It will prepare the Treble Makers for their January 28 performance when they will perform their six songs in a ballroom that seats 600 people.

January 28 will be a day to remember for the Treble Makers.  They will meet at Liberty North at 7:30 a.m. for a pancake breakfast.  At 9 a.m., they will load up a tour bus and head south to the Lake of the Ozarks area.  At 11:30 a.m., they will stop in Osage City for lunch.  The Treble Makers will arrive at the gate at Tan-Tar-A at 1:30 p.m.  They will do a sound check, then at 4 p.m., their principal, Steve Lumetta, will introduce them.  For the next 25 minutes, they will perform six songs to music teachers across the state of Missouri.  After their performance, they get back on the bus and head home, but will first stop for dinner.  They will watch a movie on the bus and sleep before arriving back in Liberty by 11 p.m.

“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Bogaard said.  “It is going to be awesome.”

When you listen to Bogaard, Troxler, and a couple of the newcomers - fifth grader Steven Haley and fourth grader Molly Lafollette - it is obvious that being in Treble Makers is rewarding.  The group practices twice a week for 50 minutes before school starts.

“I like that we get to go to performances and have to figure out what to fix before we go to Tan-Tar-A,” Lafollette said.

Being in this group wets Haley’s appetite for future endeavors in music when he moves on to middle school.  This is one of the purposes why Patterson started Treble Makers.  The Treble Makers also learn how to be part of a group to create musical pieces.

“In my 6th grade year, I am going to take two semesters on saxophone and cello,” Haley said.

“It is cool to be a part of something that is bigger than you,” Patterson said.  “When we are there, the audience will be other music teachers from across the state.  It will be neat to show them what we are doing in the Liberty School District.”