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Mr. Whitakers Octave
8 SEB students make All-State Chorus
W Advanced Chorus Vocalizing with Finale Software
The eight Southeast Bulloch High School students selected for the All-State chorus are, from left, Zachery Futch, Chas Wilson, Spencer Guerrero, Shannon Meek, Alex Smith, Emiry Blitch, Abi Sneathen and Mary Cryer. Each is a student of SEBHS Choral Director Brent Whitaker, far right. - photo by Special to the Herald

   In Brent Whitaker’s advanced chorus at Southeast Bulloch High School, musical scores aren’t the only place you’ll find an octave, as eight of his students have been named to the prestigious All-State Chorus, the state’s musical showcase of Georgia’s best student vocalists. 
    “For us to achieve eight from SEB’s 45-member choir is amazing,” said SEBHS Choral Director Brent Whitaker. “Most schools our size only have one or two.”
    The eight will perform February 23-25 at the Savannah Civic Center.
    Last year three students made the All-State Chorus, two of whom are returning this year, Chas Wilson and Emiry Blitch. 
    “We’re so good because of Mr. Whitaker,” said Abigail Sneathen, a senior who is one of the eight. “He is so dedicated.” 
    Sneathen is a Georgia Literary Competition second-place finalist in girls solo and a member of girls trio. 
    Chas Wilson also auditioned for the All-State Reading Chorus.
    “He made it last year, and I fully expected him to achieve it again,” Whitaker said. “He scored 78 out of a possible 80 points on his All-State Sight-Reading Chorus audition last Saturday, and the judges told me afterwards that Chas was a 'machine.' ”
    In its second year, the new All-State Reading Chorus is for the state’s most advanced vocalists. Auditioning students are required to sight-read five, eight-measure examples with only 45 seconds to prepare each. 
    “The Reading Chorus is for students who eat, sleep and breathe music,” Whitaker said. “I’m happy to even have one at
that level.”
    Whitaker requires students that are interested in competing at the All-State Chorus level to attend a mandatory, half-hour class two times per week, after school. In the class, he helps students prepare for the rigorous musical theory, sight reading, performance and judge’s critiques that they will face during the regional auditions and the three-day All-State Chorus practices and performances. 
    Whitaker trains and exposes the advanced
students to a wide range of musical theory disciplines and competitions from region and state literary events, Large Group Performance Evaluation competitions, Governor’s Honors, All State Chorus, All State Reading Chorus, music festival competitions and local performances. 
    “The Advanced Chorus is a competition-level choir,” said Whitaker. “These students are extremely musically literate, having come up through my basic music theory classes.”

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