Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Canyon Heights Choir Sings at Stanford

On November 2, the choir of Canyon Heights Academy (Campbell, CA) sang the national anthem before a Stanford volleyball game. This was part of a long and fruitful relationship between the school and university. 

Canyon Heights sixth-grader Maddie was one of the 25 students who participated. “I enjoy performances – acting and singing,” Maddie said, “so whenever I get to go out and perform on stage it feels really good and I enjoy it very much.” Many people might feel intimidated singing before such a large crowd, but not Maddie. “I always get a little nervous before,” she admitted, “but once you’re on the stage and singing with friends, it doesn’t feel as scary and it feels like you’re in the normal room we practice in each day.” 

The choir performed before a Stanford Women’s volleyball game vs. Colorado on November 2, 2018. Their women’s volleyball team had won the national championship in 2017 and, with a 32-1 record at the end of the regular season, were hoping for a repeat. They won 3-2 

Kathryn Sager, the Canyon Heights director of marketing and development, noted that earlier in the fall the Women’s Volleyball team came to Canyon Heights for a pep rally. 

Choir director Judaline Swinkels recalls that, when she first came to Canyon heights six years ago, there was no choir. A year later she started the choir, which has now branched into two choirs: the Cardinal Choir, which performed at the Stanford game, is open to all and usually has from 25 to 35 students, while a small elite ensemble group of 14 is audition-only. The regular choir is open to  second- through eighth-grade students, while the elite choir is for fourth grade and up.  

Asked about singing the Star-Spangled Banner, Maddie replied, “I’ve kind of gotten used to singing the national anthem, as I’ve sang it so many times.” Her friend Madeline, also in sixth grade, said, “There are parts that are tough but Mrs. Swinkels really helps clear those up and tells us how to do it.” 

Madeline, like Maddie, loves to sing. She said her favorite number in the choir’s repertoire is a medley of three water-themed Disney songs, “Just around the Riverbend,” “Under the Sea,” and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride.” The choir performs this with choreography, lights and sounds. 

Mrs. Swinkels noted that they learned the medley when they got a chance to perform at Disneyland last year. Along with Stanford and Disneyland, the choir has performed in Santa Clara and at numerous events in the San Jose area. 

“It’s important to me that they have a lot of opportunities to perform in a lot of different venues” she said, “and that we showcase the talent of these young students so they understand the purpose of their gift.” She explained that this is part of RC educational methodology. “They should share whatever gifts they have with other people. If they have this ability, they should grow it and share the message as well.”