Trio of music 'stars' all in the family

February 23, 2006|by JANET HEIM

CLEAR SPRING - Sibling rivalry is alive and well at the home of Mark and Amy Myers.

Thankfully, the competitiveness among their three children was rewarded recently when all were selected for All State Chorus ensembles.

"I was hoping I'd make it. I would feel bad if they made it (and I didn't)," Emily Myers, 16, said with a laugh as she gestured toward brothers, Samuel, 14, and Gavin, 13.

There was little cause for concern, though, as this is the third consecutive year the Clear Spring High School junior was selected for All State. Samuel, a freshman, has participated once before.

Gavin, a seventh-grader at Clear Spring Middle School, said he was surprised to make All State Junior Chorus because this is his first year taking chorus.


All three take piano lessons from Paula Boyd, chorus teacher at Boonsboro High School. The three also played instruments in middle school - French horn for Emily and Samuel, and trombone for Gavin.

Emily and Samuel gave up band for chorus in high school, sensing they were stronger vocalists. Gavin said he thinks he's better at trombone than chorus, but has two years to decide whether he'll choose band or chorus.

As high school students, the two older children participate in jazz band and a capella choir, which practice outside of school time. After-school rehearsals are also required for the upcoming production of "Oklahoma," that Emily and Samuel are in.

It takes a team approach - teachers and parents - to prepare for All State Chorus. First, there are auditions in Frederick, Md., in November. Clear Spring High chorus teacher Beth Smith offered help with the audition music for interested students.

After students were selected, they received a CD of the music they'll be singing and are expected to know their parts before the weekend practices and concert.

The All State Senior concerts - band, orchestra, women's chorus and mixed chorus - are this Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center. Emily, an Alto I, will sing with the All State Women's Chorus.

The All State Junior concerts will be at Middletown High School on March 19. Samuel, a bass, and Gavin, a tenor, will sing with the All State Junior Chorus.

The experience means a weekend away from home, with long days of rehearsals. Emily and Samuel said it's nice to sing with other students who share their love of music and want to be there.

"They actually like going to practice three times a day, five hours a day," said Emily, who describes some of the peers she'll be singing with as "amazing, awesome, good."

Students get to work with guest conductors who expose them to different methods and techniques. In the past, special activities like an ice cream social and a steel drum band concert were the students' rewards for enduring long rehearsals.

At home in Clear Spring, the Myers trio sings in their youth choir at St. John's United Church of Christ. In addition to music, the children keep busy with an array of activities.

4-H is big in the Myers family and the children have five to six steers and some lambs that they'll raise and take to Ag Expo this summer. Clear Spring High History Club, tennis team, soccer and skiing round out the children's schedules.

This year, half of Washington County's 14 All State musicians come from Clear Spring schools. Six of the 14 are from the high school.

Rob Hovermale, coordinator for Visual and Performing Arts for Washington County Public Schools, said he can't remember a time since taking his position in 2000 that all the children in one family made All State.

"It's hard enough to make All State. To have more than one or two at the same school is a big accomplishment. To have more than one or two in a family is a huge accomplishment," Hovermale said.

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