Stillson Elementary

This file photo from February 2017 shows Stillson Elementary in the Chippewa Falls School District.

FILE PHOTO

Student musicians from Chippewa Falls’ Stillson Elementary will get an opportunity to show Eau Claire their skill onstage this holiday season.

The Stillson Singers Children’s Choir will perform alongside the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra at a “Sounds of the Season” concert at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the State Theatre in Eau Claire.

The musical group – this year, 104 students strong – is wrapping up its eighth year, and its numbers have never been better, its director Jennifer Kuehl said Tuesday.

In an average year the choir has about 60 members, Kuehl said. She attributes this year’s growth to Stillson students showing a growing interest in after-school music activities. “The first year I did it, eight years ago, I said, let’s just try this. My kids were singing really well in music class … When then numbers turned out like they did, it was very successful.”

The Stillson Singers’ big break came when Molly Nordin, a longtime director of Chippewa Falls school orchestras and violinist with the Chippewa Valley Symphony, proposed that Kuehl’s students sing with the symphony several years ago.

The opportunity fell through twice, Kuehl said. But this spring she jumped at another chance, and the Stillson Singers are now slated to perform several pieces at Saturday’s concert. “Third time’s the charm,” she said. “It’s an almost sold-out concert. They’re very excited.”

Due to the choir’s growing size and the lack of a large rehearsal space at Stillson, Kuehl now holds rehearsal two nights per week, and she praised her students’ work ethic.

She’s also surprised at the number of male students in her choir. “I’ve got 38 or 39 boys out of 104 (students) … that really excites me, that over the years, we’ve built up the idea that singing is for boys too.”

The concert’s set list includes the traditional hymn “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” “We Need a Little Christmas” and “Bring Us Peace,” with an audience sing-along slated for later in the night.

Kuehl has been with Stillson for 11 years, and has previously taught in Eau Claire.

The Stillson Singers Children’s Choir and Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra will perform at 4:30 p.m. at the State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire Street, Eau Claire. Tickets begin at $28 for adults and $7 for children. Visit www.eauclairearts.com for more information.

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Chippewa Herald reporter

Sarah Seifert covers the city and community of Chippewa Falls. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-738-1608 or at sarah.seifert@lee.net.

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