How you can help
If you would like to make a donation, go to the SEB Chorus’ fundraising site here.
The name itself is history. For musicians, to step on the stage of the famous New York City concert venue is often the accomplishment of a lifetime. And now, 52 advanced chorus students at Southeast Bulloch High School have been offered just such an opportunity.
What stands in their way? The cost.
Ever since they were selected to be part of the special Choral Convergence Celebration Concert at Carnegie Hall, featuring the 14 best high school choirs in the nation, the chorus has been doing everything possible to raise the necessary funds to travel to and stay in New York.
SEB’s chorus students have raised most of the money needed to pay for the trip. What they need now is for 52 members of the Bulloch County community to step forward and agree to pay the remaining $144 due for each student’s expenses, or about $7,500 total.
The group plans to travel to New York on April 21 for the April 25 event and return on April 26. The Choral Convergence Celebration Concert represents the final performance of the 2015 COA Nationals for Mixed Choirs. Presented by Choirs of America, and led by conductor Z. Randall Stroope, the concert features choral programs from across the country performing a mix of massed choir and individual choir repertoire, and includes the tutti — meaning full orchestra — world premiere of a new choral piece from composer Dan Forrest.
Under the direction of Brent Whitaker, Southeast Bulloch’s Advanced Choir is composed of a wide spectrum of the Bulloch County community. Sophomore Will Harden is in his second year at SEB and is the first in his family to discover his artistic talent. He said he has found his passion, and wants the chance to make his family proud.
On the other hand, senior Mary Flott is the sixth of the seven Flott children, all of whom either attended or are enrolled at the SEB middle and high schools. She desires nothing more than to continue the legacy of her brothers and sisters who have attended SEB.
“I am so excited at the chance that our choir will get to sing on the stage of such a famous national landmark where so many of the most famous singers and musicians have performed,” Harden said. “It would be a memory I would carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Flott, the chorus president, added: “Everyone in our group wants the chance to show everyone what we, the choir, have been working so hard to achieve over the lengths of our high school careers, especially on such an amazing national stage. This memory is something that we would all carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
Whitaker, who has been working for nine years at Southeast Bulloch, simply says he loves his kids. In fact, several years ago, when he realized the middle school kids did not have a choir director, he got permission to teach there in addition to carrying his full workload at the high school.
“He is the strictest taskmaster I’ve seen, and yet several of his students have told me that were it not for the choir, they would not be in school at all,” SEB Principal Donna Clifton said of Whitaker.