Not many people are fond of being judged by professionals, but the Dawson County High School Chorus had nothing to worry about last week in Habersham County.
According to director Spencer Wright, the results at the state evaluation "couldn't have gone any better," with all three judges giving the chorus "superior" ratings in every area they were judged.
"Every year we go to large group performance evaluation and get rated," Wright said. "There's a specific list of pieces we have to choose from to perform. I took the chorus to the top classification this year, Class A."
The group was judged in many categories, including tone quality, difficulty and interpretation of music, stage presence, appearance, professionalism and diction.
"I'm really pleased with all of the work that they are doing," said Wright, who described his students as a "great group of kids" that work "really hard."
As a separate act, the women's chorus also received two "superior" ratings and one "excellent."
The chorus program consists of three smaller groups, the Women's Chorus, the Beginner's Chorus and the Chamber Singers, who are the group's top vocalists.
"I love being in Chamber Singers because I know that everybody is supportive of anything that anybody achieves," said sophomore Emily Poss, who placed second as regional soloist. "It's become my passion in high school."
Another sophomore standout is Chance Passmore, who was recently named state Class AAA male soloist for 2013.
"Chance is special. He walked into chamber singers as a freshman, which doesn't happen often," Wright said. "He made All-State Chorus from seventh to 10th grade every single year. He's participated in district honors chorus every year from seventh grade on, and in statewide honor chorus in sixth grade."
Before being named state champion, Passmore claimed the same honor for the region.
"It was great to go and place first in regions and then at state," Passmore said. "It was really exciting."
Passmore was selected to represent the high school's music department at the Governor's Honors program this summer.
Passmore said he was "blown away" by the news.
"Finding out about the Governor's Honors [program] was extremely exciting," Passmore said. "I wasn't sure how my interview went. When I was chosen to go, I was ecstatic."
Wright, in his 15th year teaching chorus at the local high school, said this group has been particularly special.
"This group of students, as a whole, is one of the most talented ... that I've ever taught," he said. "They just gel well together, everybody seems to get along well together and within each section, there are plenty of advanced students to help lift everyone else up.
"It's such a joy and blessing to get to teach a group like this. They blow me away."
The students feel the same way about their teacher.
"Mr. Wright is awesome," Passmore said. "Anything I need, at school or at home, he will definitely get it covered. With regional and with state, he helped me get there."
Poss echoed Passmore's sentiments.
"Mr. Wright always supports us and I know he would do anything for us," she said. "I love going in every day knowing I'm going to do something with the rest of my people in my choir and that it's going to sound amazing."
The chorus's next performance will be April 27 at Piedmont College, where the group will be the featured high school in the Great Composers series.