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All County Choruses focused on the music

October 14, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

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    HAGERSTOWN -- The young vocalists were unswayed by their night of celebrity. They had work to do.

    Backs were straight, heads were high and all eyes were on the conductor.

    After hours of rehearsal, their big moment had arrived.

    And from the first note to the last, it was music to the ears.

    The annual performance of the All County Middle and Senior High School Honor Choruses was held Wednesday night in the auditorium of North Hagerstown High School.

    About 250 students participated in the concert, said Robert B. Hovermale, visual and performing arts supervisor for Washington County Public Schools.

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"A lot of work goes into this evening, but it's a lot of fun," Hovermale said. "It's so nice to see how these kids have worked together."

Hovermale said the performance was expected to raise about $2,500, which will help defray expenses. The remainder will go to the choral programs.

The middle school chorus, under the direction of guest conductor Stephen Holmes, was the first to perform, with selections that ranged from Z. Randall Stroope's "Inscription of Hope" to the Robert Emerson arrangement of "Blue Skies."

"We spent a lot of time talking about what the various music and text meant," Holmes said. "We had some terrific rehearsals, and I think the students have done a wonderful job."

Music performed by the senior high school chorus included selections by Joseph Haydn and Ralph Vaughn Williams. The guest conductor was Ed Maclary.

The evening concluded with the combined choruses performing "Peace Song" (with "We Shall Overcome").

Nick Vindivich, 16, a junior at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, said this was his fifth year performing with the All County choruses.

Vindivich said students put in quite a few hours of rehearsal, including an entire day of practice.

"At first, it's a little different singing with people you don't know," he said. "But you end up making a lot of new friends."

Minutes before the concert, Lawrence Shaw, 16, admitted to having a few butterflies.

"But I'm just anxious to get out there," he said. "I'm ready to sing."

A junior at Washington County Technical High School, Shaw said he has been selected to the All County Choruses for about five years.

"I've always liked music," he said. "It's a passion. Hopefully, when I go to college, I'll have an opportunity to keep singing. Music is a big part of my life."

Curt Shetler, choral director at North Hagerstown High School and site host, said the evening featured a varied program with each conductor bringing something unique to the performances.

"There's some difficult stuff, but very enjoyable," Shetler said. "It's an exciting evening."

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