The Houston High School choir will perform this weekend at Silver Dollar City for more than 900 attendees at the only conference and showcase dedicated to the student and youth market in North America.
Selected as the lone choir to participate at the annual meeting of the Student Youth Travel Association, Houston students will sing twice at the Branson theme park, including a performance alongside the Haygoods.
“It’s an honor,” said HHS choir director Beth Williamson. “We’re the only choir going, and we’re the first choir they called. The kids are very proud of that fact.”
The Houston choir was chosen for the conference based on its performance in November 2014 at the Haygoods. A letter sent to the district called the opportunity an “once-in-a-lifetime moment in the history of Branson tourism.”
“Your students will be performing for some of the largest and most successful student tour operators both international and domestic, whose companies generate billions in school travel tourism dollars,” the letter read. “Your music program has always represented the best of what Missouri music education programs are.”
Houston will sing eight songs Saturday as conference attendees arrive at Silver Dollar City. Following a short break and pizza party, they will meet from 11:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. at the Hilton Convention Center for a full dress rehearsal with the Haygoods and the rest of the production crew. Breakfast begins at 5:30 a.m.
“When they first called me, I hesitated because of the timeline,” Williamson said. “I called a few of my students to tell them about the opportunity and they all said, ‘We can do this.’”
Williamson is taking 35 students to represent Houston. The group is comprised of 33 members of ensembles or soloists from last year’s districts and two who qualified through open auditions.
Preparations for the conference began with a daylong practice with her students before school started. She also had three-hour practices the past two Tuesday nights.
“They have been very dedicated to making this the best program we can present on this timeline,” Williamson said.