CLYMER -- In early October four students from Calvary Baptist Academy began to prepare for KCEA's All-State Choir. Every year students from around the state audition for a chance to sing in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. This event is hosted and planned by the Keystone Christian Education Association.
Eager but nervous students gave it their all before and during their auditions. CBA's four students were thankful they had their music director, Benjamin Dawley, to help them prepare for the audition.
The music directors in each participating school coached their students on notes and pronunciation of the words.
About 140 students from across the state performed in the concert.
The four students to participate from Calvary Baptist were two seniors, Paige Heiple and Lauren Wolfe, and two freshmen, Rachel Covato and Brittany Prugh.
As the students arrived at Grace and Truth Bible Church in Hummelstown, where they practiced on Nov. 15-16, they were greeted by this year's director, Richard Shelburne, and the first conductor-turned-accompanist, Dr. Craig Ralston.
Shelburne has served as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Land O'Lakes, Fla., since May 1999.
He has more than 30 years of experience in leading music at churches, schools and colleges. Dr. Ralston was the director of All-State Choir in 2009. As Shelburne's good friend, Dr. Ralston agreed to be the accompanist for this year's performance.
The students performed at 11 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 17. The concert consisted of 11 songs. One of the songs the students sang, "You Are the Music," by Dan Forrest, was the second performance of this song ever done.
The students also tackled "O Nata Lux," by Morten Lauridsen, which is a challenging Latin a cappella song. The favorite song of this All-State Choir was "Chosen as His Children," by Paul Keew.
As their final number, the students sang Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," which turned out to be the highlight of the concert.
The performances in the Capitol Rotunda were enjoyed by many. As the concerts finished, the students said goodbye to both new and old friends; many look forward with anticipation to next year's All-State Choir.