WEEKI WACHEE — Weeki Wachee High School chorus director Morgan Burburan knew her students' music performance assessments were coming up and she considered giving the students a practice run to boost their confidence.
The assessment is a time for students' skills to be evaluated by professional musicians. It is not required by the state, she explained, but directors have the option of having students assessed so they can put their skills into perspective with other choruses.
"This is a great opportunity for them to get feedback from trained adjudicators for a comprehensive evaluation," Burburan said. She likened the assessment to a music FCAT.
To ease the jitters, Burburan held a practice assessment at her school. She discussed the idea with Powell Middle School's chorus director David Pletincks, and he suggested she open the performance to Florida Vocal Association District 5. "We had 10 choruses perform," she said. They came from four schools representing two counties.
There were three choirs from Weeki Wachee, directed by Burburan; three choirs from Powell, directed by Pletincks; one choir from West Hernando Middle School, directed by Cristina Ledford; and three choirs from Sumter County's Villages Charter High School, directed by Robbie Riddle.
The practice assessment was held at Weeki Wachee High with family, friends and community members in attendance. "It was a packed house," Burburan said. "We had over 400 people in the audience. It was really great and I think the kids who participated really benefited from it."
The choir directors benefited, too, through evaluations of each other.
The performance assessments for District 5 were held at Inverness First Baptist Church in Citrus County, hosted by Citrus High. Burburan was impressed that one of the adjudicators was Andrew Minnear, choral director of Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando.
"When my choir earned a superior from him," she said, "that was a high note."