McCain Connected hosts the Flint Hills Children's Choir in livestream performances
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020
McCain Connected will present free livestream performances of the the Bluestem Choir and Konza Choir, both ensembles of the Flint Hills Children's Choir, on Nov. 8.
MANHATTAN — McCain Connected, the virtual series curated by Kansas State University's McCain Auditorium, is offering double the entertainment with free livestream performances by two ensembles of the Flint Hills Children's Choir on Sunday, Nov. 8.
Both choirs will perform live from the McCain stage. The Bluestem Choir's livestream will start at 3:30 p.m., while the Konza Choir's livestream will be at 5 p.m. Both events can be viewed online at the McCain website or the McCain YouTube channel.
The Flint Hills Children's Choir, based in Manhattan, was founded in 2015 by longtime colleagues and friends, Janie Brokenicky and Janet Armstead. The first choir, comprised of 28 fifth through ninth grade singers, quickly expanded to two treble-voiced choirs: Bluestem and Konza, which span grades three through 10. Students in the choir currently represent the communities of Clay Center, Manhattan, Olsburg, Riley, St. George, Wamego and Westmoreland.
Konza is the main traveling ensemble and seeks to attend a convention or festival each year. This season, the choir performed at the 2020 Kansas Music Educators Association State Convention and planned to travel to Chicago in April to perform the national anthem at a Chicago White Sox game. Unfortunately, those plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other notable performances include a 2019 performance at Carnegie Hall in New York; a 2018 collaboration with the Wichita Grand Opera, Wichita Symphony Orchestra and international pop artist Chris Mann; and a 2016 collaboration with the K-State Choirs, Lawrence Children's Choir and the Kansas City Ballet for a performance of "Carmina Burana" at the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.
The Bluestem ensemble is the introductory choir with a focus on basic performance skills, healthy singing habits and fostering a love for music with high-energy rehearsals and age-appropriate literature. Bluestem frequently collaborates with the older Konza Choir and performs at various concerts, community events and celebrations throughout the year.
Brockenicky serves as both executive director of the Flint Hills Children's Choir and artistic director of the Konza Choir. She currently serves as vocal music teacher for the sixth through 12th grades at the Wamego School District. She served for five years as a full-time instructor of music at Kansas State University, teaching applied voice and music theory. She is active as a guest singer, choral clinician and adjudicator throughout the Midwest.
Karis Nichols is the artistic director of the Bluestem Choir and is in her fifth year of teaching music in the Rock Creek School District. She currently serves as the Kansas Choral Directors Association's North Central District chair and is the 2020 Kansas Choral Directors Association Prelude Award recipient, a distinction recognizing an outstanding choral director in their first three to five years of teaching.