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HARMONY: Vocalists attend District Chorus Festival

by NICOLE ELLI, Gazette student news reporter on January 17, 2014 10:50 AM

NEW FLORENCE — Last week, three Harmony High School students stepped away from their choir of 30 to join a chorus of 200 to sing in PMEA’s District 4 Chorus.

After leaving school early on Jan. 8, Caitlin Roland, Ronald Marshall and Nicole Elli arrived at Bellefonte High School for a night of auditions for Regional Chorus.

[PHOTO: From left, Daniel Bergman, Harmony High School music director, Ronald Marshall, Nicole Elli and Caitlin Roland attended the PMEA District Chorus Festival last week at Bellefonte High School. (Submitted photo/Harmony High School)

On Jan. 9, the choir was introduced to the guest conductor, Dr. Anthony Leach. Dr. Leach is a professor of music/music education at Penn State University.

He has taught choral and general music for 14 years in various places, including Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

Dr. Leach is the conductor of the University Choir at Penn State, as well as Essence of Joy, Essence 2 and the Essence of Joy Alumni Singers. His choirs have performed all over the world, and he has been a guest conductor for many choral festivals across the country.

All-day practices took place on Jan. 9 and 10, and the chorus performed their first concert Jan. 10 for their host families. An ice cream social was held after the concert and students could eat ice cream and cookies while socializing with choir members from the other 25 schools.

The last concert took place on Saturday morning, where the chorus opened with the song “Come to the Music.” The concert consisted of nine other pieces including “Where Dwells the Soul of My Love,” sung by the men’s choir, and “Evening,” sung by the women’s choirs, based on the poem by Emily Dickinson. The Eric Clapton song “Tears in Heaven” was also sung, along with “Mojuba,” which is a Nigerian folk song.

The students were ready to return home but had a great experience, and learned a lot that would help them become leaders in their own school choirs.

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