A Brief History of the Maharishi School Festival Singers and Concert Choir:

In 1996, Dr. Ashley Deans, the director of Maharishi School, inspired the newly hired music director, Phyllis Khare, to develop a choir that could be ready at a moments notice to sing for visiting dignitaries. This non-auditioned choir, Maharishi School Festival Singers, included students in all grades.

Within six years, so many students wanted to be in the choir that it was split into four different choirs; Festival Singers (unison, grades 3-4), Concert Choir (2-part singing, 5th and 6th grade), Ensemble Choir (students interested in ensemble competition, grades 7-8), and Middle School Choir (solo, 2 and 3 part singing, grades 7-8).

Over the years the Maharishi School Festival Singers and Concert Choir have gained the reputation for fine singing and beautiful stage presentation. They have sung in the Dome for several events, for school Holiday programs, parents concerts, and as an invited guest choir for the MUM Chamber Singers annual community program for the past three years. They have sung in a local nursing home, an out-of-town community fund-raising event, and with a small school orchestra. They have opened the Fairfield Bike Fest for the past four years and many Pioneer basketball games with rousing renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

They have recorded songs for radio station KHOE, and for projects that have aired on the Maharishi Channel. Many of the members have auditioned and been selected for local, regional, and state honor choirs. Maharishi School has been represented by these fine singers in all these honor choirs; GOVAP, OPUS, and Southeast Iowa Honor Choir. Several Concert Choir members joined an adult community choir this past summer and sang a Haydn Mass with 50 other amateur and professional singers.

In brief, these choirs give the students an opportunity to expand their musical abilities and sing for a larger audience. They enjoy the effect of group singing to create happiness in themselves and their world. They are a gift to the school.

See also:

Music Program Students in the News

In 2001-02 Maharishi School again enjoyed extraordinary success at the All-State Speech Competition, winning the Critic's Choice awards for group mime and for reader's theater.

Since 1994 Maharishi School students have won nine of these top awards.

The judge for the mime competition praised Maharishi School's performance to the audience and said that the students never let their technique falter. "Dropping your technique as the characters develop is something you never see from Maharishi School," he said.

The reader's theater judge was similarly impressed "All I can say is what the audience already knows. All nine Maharishi School groups qualified for the state competition and received the highest ratings at the state level, with six being invited to perform at All--State: reader's theater, two musical theaters, two group mimes, and one solo mime.

Maharishi School Wins Grand Prize at P.I.E.A 2002
International Photography Competition

Ninth Grade student Tasha Blitz won the grade 9 and below division with her color photograph entitled, "Berries," Marissa Markowitz, also in 9"’ grade, won 2nd place for her black and white photograph entitled, "Rope." Both works were featured in the P.I.E.A. Exhibition in Orlando, Florida in February, 2002, and then travelled around the world in exhibitions hosted by schools, universities, art centers and museums for a year and a half.

The Photo Imaging Educational Association (P.I.E.A.) an international photography competition with categories for 9th grade and below, grades 10–12 and college level. The competition had over 1000 students entering from over 105 Middle and High Schools, with approximately 46,000 photographs being judged.

Tasha and Marissa's works were two of the 33 photographs submitted by Greg Thatcher for the 8th and 9th grade students. The Middle School photography program has been developed by Carolyn Waksman and Greg Thatcher. It focuses on creativity and a strong understanding of the fundamental art and design principles, as well as self referral. Students use color film and commercial processing. The Upper School program, taught by Carolyn Waksman, submitted over 100 black and white, ayid color photographs to this competition.

Tasha and Marissa’s prizes included a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, a large quantity of film, Tamracic Day Pack, optacic camera strap, photographic papers, filter kits, photographic books and magazine subscriptions, lens pens, and various other supplies. As a result of Tasha's grand prize, Maharishi School received new photographic supplies and darkroom equipment. Entries from Maharishi School were submitted by Carolyn Waksman, under her P.I.E.A. membership.

2001 PIEA International Photo Exhibition in Fairfield

The best student work from seven countries will be exhibited at the Gallery 108 located at 108 West Burlington beginning Saturday, March 2nd through Thursday, March 14th. Organized by the Photo Imaging Education Association, the exhibition presents the top award winners in seven student categories ranging from 9th Grade and Below, Grades 10 through 12, College and University levels, plus two faculty categories.

The 2001 competition attracted 4,711 images from 1,029 entrants at 104 schools in 7 countries. 98 winners shared prizes worth over $75,000 from 93 sponsors in Australia, Canada and the USA. The exhibition travels in two editions touring Australia, Canada, South Africa, The United Kingdom and the USA until 2003.

Judges for the 2001 competition were Sam Abel!, National Geographic photographer; Laurence Gartel, pioneer digital artist; and Gary Shennette, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto, Canada.

The exhibition is open from 9:00–5:00 Monday through Saturday and 1:00–5:00 on Sundays and runs from Saturday, March 2nd through Thursday, March 14th. The grand opening will he on Saturday, March 2nd from 14:00. Refreshments will be served. For information, please call Greg Thatcher (472-6966) or Carolyn Waksman (472-8427).

We are very fortunate to have this special International competitive exhibition in Fairfield. It is here as the result of Maharishi School (presently in tenth grade) student Grace Boyle, having won 2nd place for the 9th grade and below division. Grace’s winning photograph, entitled "Snow" will be part of the Fairfield exhibition. Grace’s 2"" place prizes include a new Pentax SLR camera, 40 rolls of film, and various other photographic supplies valued at $700. Grace will be on hand for the March 2"" opening from 1–4:00 pm.

The Photo Imaging Education Association (P.I.E.A.) is a section of Photo Marketing Association International (PMA) the world’s largest photo industry organization with over 18,000 members in 110 countries.



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