Schools from all around North Georgia sent their choirs-elementary, middle and high school levels-to the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Dawson County High School last week to participate in the District 9 Large Group Performance Evaluation.
Ninety-seven different choirs performed throughout the week before judges in the newly built facility.
The annual event is hosted by the Georgia Music Educators Association and was held for the first time ever in the PAC.
"Some schools will bring as many as five different choirs," said District Choral Chair and Director Spencer Wright who organized the event. "It's a process where we perform for judges. We perform two prepared pieces."
The judges then rate and give comments and choirs then proceed to a reading room. There they are given an eight measure sample they have never seen before and five minutes to study it.
The choir will then sing that for another rating before a separate judge, according to Wright.
Both the Advanced Women's Ensemble and the DCHS Chamber Singers earned overall superior ratings in performance and in sight reading.
The ratings go from one through five. A one is a superior, two is excellent, three is good, four is fair and five is poor.
"We did a really good job," Wright said.
The eighth grade chorus from Dawson County Junior High participated on March 15 under the direction of Kevin Woody.
"For the first time in my career, I took our eighth grade students registered in the Class D high school division," Woody said. "There is an increased difficulty at this level, as well some additional requirements for their music selections."
The 74 students scored excellent in their performance and superior in their sight reading, according to Woody.
"These students dedicate themselves to this whole-heartedly each and every year, and I am so thankful that their hard work has paid off," Woody said. "I am truly blessed to work with them each day. No matter what expectations I set, they always seem to work hard and rise to the occasion."
The Dawson County Middle School also had two separate choirs performing under the direction of Jennifer Fuller.
The sixth grade chorus received three superiors and one excellent while the seventh grade chorus received two superior and two excellent ratings.
"I am super proud of both groups," Fuller said. "Over half of my students had never been in chorus before this year. For them to grow from beginners to performing with such great scores, it's such an amazing accomplishment for them."
"There are many, many, many people to thank," Wright said about the effort to bring the choirs from schools in Cherokee, Forsyth, Lumpkin, Gilmer, Pickens, Fannin and Union counties for the event.
Woody helped organize pre-orders for lunches for any choirs that were on campus during the lunch hour. Chick-fil-A served almost 500 chicken sandwiches on the first day.