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Choruses thrill crowd

October 18, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Public Schools All-County Middle and Senior High School Honor Chorus drew a standing ovation from a capacity audience in the North Hagerstown High School auditorium on Thursday night.

The audience stood and applauded the 378-member combined chorus after an hourlong performance that featured selections ranging from "Blue Skies" to "Ave Maria." Some selections were sung a cappella but most were accompanied by a pianist and by students who played varied instruments.

The master of ceremonies, schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan, acknowledged teachers and students who worked to rehearse the performed selections in just a three-day period.

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"It's amazing what we can do with our students when we have high expectations across the board," she said.

There were two guest conductors - Daniel Boyer, a choral teacher from Calvert County, Md., and Karen Soderberg-Sarnaker, director of vocal and choral activities at Frostburg State University. They alternated leading the middle and high school choruses in two half-hour sections and finished with a combined choral performance of "From Sea to Shining Sea."

Stephanie Bowins, 35, who came to see students from Northern Middle School and Williamsport High School, said, "At first I thought it was going to be really boring, but I ended up really enjoying it."

Kristina Lopez, 14, a singer from Clear Spring High School, said she thought the group accomplished a lot since it started practicing.

"We were a very strong group and we blended well with each other," she said.

Bobby Stone, 14, a singer from Williamsport High School, said he thought the overall performance was good. "I gave it all I had because I'm just a beginner," he said.

Erica Hernandez, 12, a singer from Clear Spring Middle School, had a solo in "River to Judea." She said her performance, which prompted many to clap and cheer afterward, was not as good as she had hoped.

"I cut off one of the half notes and I could have held it out longer but I didn't," she said.

Dawn Wise, 35, was at the concert to see her daughter, who attends Smithsburg Middle School. "It was excellent," she said. "It gave me chills."

Smithsburg, Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Hancock, North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown and Williamsport high schools were represented.

Boonsboro, Clear Spring, E. Russell Hicks, Hancock, Northern, Smithsburg, Springfield and Western Heights middle schools participated.

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