Katie Walters, CFNN Editor/Reporter
This past weekend, some of our very own Colts performed at the Cumberland County Schools All-County Chorus clinic. Every year, over 500 combined elementary, middle, and high school students come together from across Cumberland County. This 2-day clinic gives chorus students the opportunity to perform with others in the county. Each concert is directed by three guest clinicians.
All County Chorus preparations began in October of 2019. In order to be accepted into this group, students have to audition for their voice part with a small section of a song, approximately 10-30 measures, as well as a sight-singing example.
This year, the selected piece was Psalm 117 by Georg Phillipp Telemann. Mr. Jason Britt, Cape Fear’s choral director, held after school rehearsals to help everyone who wanted to audition learn the piece.
On November 14th, 2019, auditions for the 2019-2020 All-County Choir were held at Westover High School. There are 8 different choir parts in All-County; Soprano I and II, Alto I and II, Tenor I and II, and Bass I and II. This year, we had 12 students from Cape Fear make it!
Brooke Johnson, Katie Walters, Emma Aquino, Hope Stropoli, and Riley Mengle were Sopranos; Caitlin Smith, Keirah-Lee Garry, Jenna Mangus, and Haven Lucas were Altos; Matthew Drake, Stephen Smith, and Tyler Johnson were Basses. Also, Senior Jonathan Piland was one of the violinists for the high school choir.
Three months after the audition, on February 21st and 22nd, 2020, the clinic was held. Due to the 2-hour delay, the rehearsal times were pushed back as well. Cape Fear students joined 10 other high schools in the county at Jack Britt High School for a shorter, but fulfilling rehearsal, led by clinician Dr. Robert Holquist.
After a day of rehearsal on Friday, students returned the next day to the Crown Theater to get some more practice in before the concert that night. The Middle School and High School Choirs sang back to back in two wonderfully put together performances.
There were five songs done by the High School Choir. Three were performed by the whole choir; Psalm 117 by Georg Phillip Telemann, O My Luve’s Like a Red, Red Rose by Rene Clausen, and The Awakening by Joseph Martin. Soon and Very Soon by Andrae Crouch was performed by just the guys, and Jordan’s Angels by Rollo Dilworth was sung by just the ladies.
“Every clinician tries to pick works that fit the ability level of the student. The works for this year were exactly that. There were some works that were more difficult than others, but all of the works fit the ability level of the student,” stated Mr. Britt.
That held true, especially to this year’s concert. There is much improvement that can be made in a matter of minutes. We were able to take already good songs and make them even better. By the time the high schoolers stepped on stage and opened their music, everyone was prepared to give a brilliant concert.
“The overall performance was FANTASTIC! It was one of the best performances in the recent years of All-County Chorus,” said Mr. Britt. And indeed, it was. This has been one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever performed.
Hope Stropoli, who has done All-County since middle school, said, “I really liked our clinician this year. He was good and helped us do a nice concert.”
Stephen Smith was a first time member of All-County. “Going in I was scared, but after a while I got comfortable. It’s a great environment for people who love music. It was a great experience!”
While All-County is a great experience, there is an even better, higher selective opportunity for our students who are willing to take on the challenge. All-State Chorus is an even more prestigious honor for the best choir students in the state. It’s currently scheduled for April 24th and 25th in Charlotte, NC. More information on the students who were selected will be coming soon!
A huge congratulations to all of these students! We are so proud that you’re representing Cape Fear and the arts!