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Local 'treasure' to sing at First Friday
Statesboro Youth Chorale Vox Novum choir to perform
113009 VOX NOVUM 3 web
Randy Channell, 15, of Trinity Christian School, center, rehearses with the Statesboro Youth Chorale Monday. Hancock is a member of the high school Vox Novum Choir which will perform during the Christmas Festival Friday in Downtown Statesboro. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    A Bulloch County treasure that remains somewhat hidden will be on display for all to see and hear this weekend
    The three choirs of the Statesboro Youth Chorale are some of the most accomplished in the state. The Resident Choir is for ages 8-10, the Concert Choir is for 11-14, and the Vox Novum is for high school age singers.
    Area residents have the chance to enjoy the Chorale choirs several times beginning Friday. The Vox Novum will perform outside for the very first time during the monthly First Friday event downtown at 7 p.m. All three of the Chorale choirs will be part of the annual GSU Seasonal Celebration of Choirs set for Sunday at 3 p.m. at the GSU Performing Arts Center. This free event will feature both the GSU University Singers and the GSU Chorale, all three choirs of the Chorale, and the Adrenalin Show Choir.
    The events are free and open to the public.
    Dr. Michael Braz and Sarah Hancock from Georgia Southern University started the Youth Chorale several years ago.
    According to Hancock, "What we teach is how to sing. You don't have to be a musical wizard to be a part of this group."
    Recently, the Vox Novum choir learned eight members were selected to be part of the All-State Chorus.
    The best choir members from public, private, parochial and home-schools all around the state of Georgia were invited to tryouts in their region. All of the Vox Novum members were tested on their musical ability with "sight singing." That means they were given three unfamiliar songs to sing for which they had no time to practice. They were scored by a team of professionals, who heard hundreds of prospective candidates at the regional auditions.
    Half of Vox Novum's students going to the All-State Chorus are from Bulloch County schools. They are Chas Wilson — Southeast Bulloch High; Loren Haynes — Statesboro High; Charlie Hancock — Charter Conservatory for the Arts; and Randy Channell — Trinity Christian.
    Each of the singers has a different story: Wilson, who has been in the choir for two years, is a sophomore at SEB and sings tenor, while Haynes, who has been in the choir for four years, is a junior at SHS and sings Alto. Hancock, who is Sarah Hancock's son and has been in the choirs since they started, is a senior at CCAT and sings tenor; while Channell, who has been in the choir for going on two years, is a freshman at Trinity and sings bass.
    Asked what it is about music they enjoy, their answers were immediate: Wilson said that “Music is everything to me. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced, and I really don't know what I would do without it.”
    Hayes said: “Music is free, and allows you to express yourself however you want. You don't have to follow a rigid set of rules. It can be a lot of fun, while most other stuff gets boring and tedious.”
     The All-State Chorus will perform a concert at the annual Georgia Music Educators Association convention held at the Johnny Mercer Theater in the Convention Center in downtown Savannah on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.
    The Chorale will hold open practice auditions in January for all three choirs, and is hoping for a positive response from children and their parents in the community.
    Hancock is helped by piano accompanist Cindy Marshall. The Chorale also has several undergraduate assistants from Georgia Southern: Maggie Alley, Ashley Blocker and Johnathon Hesse. It also receives a great deal of assistance of from Dr. Adam Con, the director of Chorale Activities at GSU.
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