Over the weekend, Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School’s choir sang the national anthem to open a Phoenix Mercury game.

The performance Saturday, organized by Monte Vista’s Parent Teacher Organization, featured 85 choir students performing in US Airways Center.

Choir performers arrived at the arena a few hours before tipoff, and they met a few of the Mercury’s players and hip-hop squad.

Performers also had a private viewing of Mercury’s pregame warmups with their families.

Monte Vista’s choir director, Brenda Mulkey, said the performance was a chance for her current fifth-graders and students who have moved onto middle school to showcase their talent in front of a large audience.

Preparations for the performance consisted of practices in May and a huge rehearsal a few days prior to the game.

“As soon as they announced Kyrene Monte Vista, we let it rip,” Mulkey said. “It was great. They sang really, really well.”

Once the Monte Vista choir finished with its performance, members enjoyed the rest of the game with their families and friends.

Neel Ray, a fifth-grader, said he enjoyed the chance to sing the national anthem in front of a large crowd.

Choir member Jaylen Simmons said he was a bit nervous about the performance, but the group setting helped him calm his nerves.

“If I were to sing a solo in front of them, I would have been nervous, but if I’m with a group, I’m not really nervous,” he said.

Mulkey said her favorite part of the performance was seeing how happy each of her students were once they finished singing.

“The entire stadium was quiet just listening to us, and as we got closer and closer to the end, the crowd started getting excited,” she said. “By the end, the whole crowd was screaming, and the looks on my students’ faces and the smiles on their faces … that was worth every minute of preparation.”

“My favorite part was singing and having the experience of singing in front of all of those people,” said fifth-grader Amelia Carter.

Carter’s sentiments were shared by fellow fifth-grader Elle French, who said the experience was exciting.

Monte Vista choir is preparing for performances that will happen throughout the school year.

“This season, we have a lot of fun concerts going on,” Mulkey said. “We will probably do a joint concert with either Desert Vista High School or Altadeña Middle School, and we’ll also participate in the Kyrene Community Education Showcase in the spring.”

Mulkey said there were plans to perform at a Phoenix Suns or Diamondbacks game in the near future, but nothing has been set in stone.

For more information about Monte Vista’s choir, visit www.kyrene.org/mon.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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