It was pure accident that I began singing in choral groups. In my first year of high school — we started in the tenth grade back then — I was taking art appreciation when a good friend said, "John! There's a bunch of kids singing upstairs. You like to sing and all you have to do is to sit, sing and get an "A!"
I figured I could do that and I switched classes faster than you can blink. Several things happened: the choral director should have been a drill sergeant, singers are not sissies, it takes absolute dedication to the work required to properly prepare for an acceptable performance and when the music has been sung to the best of any choir's ability, it's like talking to God.
Julie and I were fortunate to sit with friends in the crowded auditorium at Southeast Bulloch to listen to "A Choral Concert in Time and Space." The Eighth Grade Chorus blew my socks off with, "Touch the Sky!" The Beginning Chorus touched my heart with "Dies Irae" and made me smile as they beautifully sang "Hallelujah."
I am taking nothing away from those talented folks, but I have to express my profound appreciation to the Advanced Chorus who made the room rock!
None of this extraordinary evening's performance could have been possible without the expertise, pure passion and total dedication of Director Brent Whitaker. As Julie and I left the building, I asked, "Could we have sung the music those young folks sang when we were in the Marshall University Choir?"
Julie said, "Yes, if Brent Whitaker had been our director."
That made me smile.
Back to the program. There were strobe lights to help set the transitions in time and great movie clips to help us get in the mood. When the Advanced Chorus sang, "Dawn," I saw tears in the eyes of those sitting around me. I guess no one told the chorus they couldn't sing "Cloudburst" because it would be just too difficult. How'd they do? The people we sat with jumped to their feet and applauded and cheered!
As an unashamed Hobbit fan, I gave more than a couple of fist pumps when the men, dressed as warrior dwarfs, made the room rumble as they sang "Song of the Lonely Mountain." I knew old Smaug was about to get his bell rung. The women sang with such power and precision to give us a perfect expression of "Gaudete!" "Rejoice, rejoice! Let our song now resound in purification. Let it give praise to the Lord!" And it did!
Now, who would have believed that a high school chorus would have the ability to take a song written and performed by the rock group Queen and cause us to shout for more? Young folks, you made "Bohemian Rhapsody" rock!
Everyone I spoke to or a bit of some of the conversation I overheard said the same thing; "This evening was a moment to remember. We were truly blessed!"
If there are any folks out there who wonder what our schools teach, what kind of young people do we have around here or will these students be ready to take over and solve the problems our world faces, worry no more.
SEBHS has the teaching staff that just won't allow the students to take an education lightly. I know the school administration will fight for the best support system possible. I am confident that the students who attend SEBHS expect and are given every opportunity to learn and be taught at the highest level available.
And Margarett Ann Elliott and Elizabeth Forbes, where would any chorus be without superb accompaniment? Take a bow!