Choir director continues fun into summer

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SUMMER OF SINGING: Can’t Stop Singing! creator and director Nancy Robertson stands with camp shirts from throughout the years.

SUMMER OF SINGING: Can’t Stop Singing! creator and director Nancy Robertson stands with camp shirts from throughout the years.

Warren Central choral director Nancy Robertson has taught a lot of students in her nearly 20 years with the Vicksburg Warren School District, but several of her students meet her well before they get to high school.

That’s because many of them attend “Can’t Stop Singing!,” a show choir camp Robertson created in 1989.

“My kids were growing up when I started it, and I thought, ‘well, I don’t have anything to do this summer except keep kids; let’s do something fun,’” she said. “All of the sudden I said, ‘Why don’t we do a camp!’”

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Robertson said she didn’t know what to call the camp, but she realized summer was over, yet she couldn’t stop singing, hence the name.

“Kids get here at 8 a.m. and we do some fun get-to-know-you games, and we learn the music part for the first hour or so, then we take a break at 10 a.m.,” she said. “Then we come back and we get hard and heavy into the choreography.”

Robertson said the children are on risers, so the choreography can’t be too elaborate.

“It’s something you can do on risers with 50 kids,” she said. “I call it choral-ography. It’s mostly singing.”

Robertson said she makes awards at the end of the week for kids. The awards may change from week to week depending on what funny thing happens, but there’s one award she said she always gives.

“I find a little girl who looks just like me when I was that age and I’ll give her the Mini Me award,” she said. “I can’t begin to tell you over the past 20 years how many kids have walked up to me and said, ‘Do you remember me? I got the Mini Me award when I came to Can’t Stop Singing!’”

Robertson said she’s not sure how they still remember the award 10 years later, but they do.

“That seems to be the most meaningful thing that they can get is a little award that makes them feel really, really special,” she said. “It’s funny. It’s really funny.”

Robertson, who also serves as the VWSD fine arts curriculum coordinator, stays busy throughout the school year as well.

“I’m head choral director, and over the course of the year we do a Singe Feaste, fall and spring concerts and a spring musical,” she said.

Robertson’s students also do competitions.

“We go to district competition in February, and the choirs who make superiors are allowed to go to the state competition,” she said. “I can’t remember a year that we haven’t gone. There’s only one or two years out of those 20 that we didn’t make all superiors at all the venues, so we’re real proud of our kids. They work very hard.”

This past year, Robertson was named the Outstanding Music Educator from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Robertson serves as the past president for the High School Choral Division of the Mississippi Music Educators Association.

“I think it’s for people who have donated their time and efforts through their service,” she said. “I’ve served as secretary, vice president, president, and now I’m past president.”

Each term lasts two years, so Robertson has dedicated eight years of service to the division.

Children from first through eighth grade are invited to attend “Can’t Stop Singing!” The cost is $90, and a deposit can be mailed to the instructor, Nancy Roberson at 1701 Rollingwood, Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39183.

The camps are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to noon June 8-12 and June 15-19 at the Warren Central High School choir room, 1000 Mississippi 27. For more information, call 601-529-7171.