Just sing, sing a song

October 19, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - They warmed up like trained athletes, working their muscles before the big game.

But most of these athletes were girls in frilly, sequined dresses and boys in pastel-colored tuxedos.

"It's vocal calisthenics. They're getting their voices acclimated to the temperature and barometric pressure," Clear Spring High School choral director Beth Smith said Wednesday night shortly before the start of the 2006 All County Chorus Concert.

Every middle and high school in Washington County had students performing. Teachers at each school selected the best students to perform in the concert at North Hagerstown High School. About 1,300 people were in the audience.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told the audience she believed the event had been a tradition in the county for at least 30 years.


Brianna Lapole, 15, said being selected is an important honor. Brianna, a North High junior, has been selected twice.

She said performing with students from other schools can be difficult because they are not used to each others' sounds.

"We come together in three practices and sound really good," said 16-year-old Williamsport High School student Brett Rowland. "It's a collection of groups, and we can all make a great sound."

Brett, a junior, said Wednesday was his fifth All County Chorus Concert.

About 120 middle school students performed five songs, and about 150 high school students sang six songs. Both groups sang together for the final song of the evening, "It Takes a Village," by J. Szymko.

Smith said Wednesday's concert included music from different genres and time periods.

"The music is a variety, and there is something for everyone," said Curt Shetler, choral director at North High.

The guest conductor for the high school chorus was Brenda J. Weiser, director of choral activities at Hood College in Frederick, Md. The guest conductor for the middle school chorus was Sherlee Huang from South County Secondary School in Lorton, Va.

Cindy Boyer of Hagerstown said her son, a Springfield Middle School eighth-grader, was excited to be singing Wednesday.

"It's good for him," she said. "He was shy before. Now, he's really getting into it."

Judy Fandel's daughter, a Smithsburg Middle School student, also was excited to perform. Fandel said her daughter, Julie Fandel, taught her younger sister some of the songs from the concert.

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