By Dawn Hatfield
GREENVILLE — More than 70 students across three school districts joined together in song during the 21st Annual Darke County Junior High Choral Festival on Friday, March 3 at Memorial Hall.
Although the festival began for the public at 7 p.m., vocal students and their directors had been preparing for nearly the entire school day during an all-day workshop. During the workshop, students were given the chance to sing with students from across the county, work with a guest conductor, and hear other choirs perform.
First to grace the stage at the evening’s festival was Ansonia Junior High Chorus, directed by Jessica Berry, and accompanied on piano by Darla Rench. This small group sang two songs, “Carry the Light,” featuring soloist Chloe Deubner, and “Cups” from “Pitch Perfect,” featuring Charlotte Rismiller. The Ansonia students’ voices soared brightly in contrast to their all-black attire, allowing their melodies to easily take the spotlight.
Franklin Monroe Junior High Chorus, directed by Sara Novak, was next to perform. The choir featured solos by Forrest Fourman and Kyra Hope in “Speechless” and finished their set with “How Far I’ll Go.” Students looked sharp dressed in their FM blue, but their voices were right on key.
Last to step into the spotlight was Greenville Middle School Select Choir, directed by Kari Thompson. With a television/movie theme, the choir sang, “Song of the Lonely Mountain” from “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Ease on Down the Road” from “The Wiz,” featuring Ariel Riley and Marcella Marlett as soloists, and “Streaming Sitcoms,” a medley arranged by Zaino, which mashed television theme-song favorites, such as those from “The Big Bang Theory,” “Full House,” and “Friends.” Audience members could hardly refrain from singing along with these fun and familiar tunes.
All vocalists then joined together to perform “Raise a Ruckus” and “Sing!” as a mass choir under the direction of Chelsea Whirledge during the show’s finale. Hearing the combined voices of three talented choirs all blending as one was a perfect ending to the lovely 2023 Choral Festival.
As with any large-scale production, there were many hands working behind the scenes. Wavaires from Greenville High School acted as ushers and runners and operated curtains and spotlight. Lori Lemon ran the ticket booth. Ron Asman provided lights, and John Whirledge controlled sound. Nick Poling was the on-site videographer, and DVDs are available for purchase by contacting junior high/middle school choir directors.
The $5 admission fee will be used for the purchase of music, supplies, etc., for Darke County music students.
Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.