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Chorus show is 'like, wow'

October 14, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

For some it was the their final curtain call.

For others, it was their first such performance.

Regardless of experience, the hours of practice by members of the Washington County Public Schools All County Middle and Senior High School Honor choruses culminated in an hour of music Wednesday evening at North Hagerstown High School.

The middle school honor chorus performed first with a set that included "Heavens Gate," which featured soloist Shannon Draper, an eighth-grader at Springfield Middle School.

The middle school students, like their high school counterparts, practice several times with those selected from their respective schools before combining with vocalists from across the county for three combined practices leading to the concert, several music teachers said. The last practice, held Tuesday, lasted about eight hours.

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"It took a lot of hard work, but it was worth it," said Shannon just minutes after belting out the notes that concluded the first portion of the show.

Jackie Morris, an eighth-grade student at Boonsboro Middle School, was among those who credited guest conductor Edryn Coleman's cheerful demeanor with keeping the young singers from getting stage fright.

"He was the coolest," Jackie said. "He was just plain funny and always smiling."

The high school students were led by guest conductor Gregory Paul Shook, a Hagerstown native. They performed works ranging from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Mel Brooks, whose melody from "The Producers" featured several soloists and drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Jessica Brown, a North Hagerstown High School junior in her first year with the county chorus, said the Brooks song was the most difficult but the most enjoyable to perform.

"To work so hard on it and have it end up so well is like, wow," Brown said.

Karen Rice, a Clear Spring High School junior, said it was, by far, the best performance of the county chorus in her four years performing with either the middle or high school honor choruses. She said that was largely because "the guys were just a powerhouse."

Becky Sirokman, a Clear Spring senior, said there were a lot of mixed emotions among the seniors who performed Wednesday. She said it was especially difficult for those who sang during their entire time in high school.

"You're upset because it's the last year, but it was a really good way to go out," she said.

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