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Superior voices: High school ensemble receives top marks
2. Chorus pic 2
The Dawson County High School chorus practices a collegiate piece, Daemon Irrepit Callidus, a religious Latin chant, during class Monday. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Dawson County High School Chorus Director Spencer Wright has proven that, once again, his chorus is superior.

"Every year, we participate in the Large Group Performance Evaluation," he said. "It's a fancy term for a festival. It's part of our program that we do."

The chorus goes each March to participate and be evaluated by music professionals.

Each entry level has a ranking, starting with Class A, and descends from there. Groups are then ranked based on their performance, receiving superior, excellent, good, fair or poor reviews.

Dawson County High School received superior ratings in every classification entered.

Wright and his students prepare two musical pieces off of a list mandated by the state of Georgia to take to the performance.

"The Chamber Singers took Class A, which is collegiate level work. We've done that for several years," Wright said. "New this year, we took the Women's Ensemble to Class B, which was a jump up for them."

The group performs in front of a group of three judges, who grade on various criteria, such as tone and diction. There is also a site-reading portion, where ensembles must read the music on their own and come up with what they believe is the sound.

The judging is especially nerve-wracking for seniors, who are giving their last performance.

"As a senior, this was my fourth time performing," said Kristen Ellison. "It was a lot of fun, but it's always scary because you never know what the judges will say."

However, there must have been something that the judges saw in the DCHS chorus, as senior Rhys Adams recalls.

"It was an exquisite performance," Adams said. "It was all we've worked for and just the feeling of accomplishment when the middle judge stood up and gave us a standing ovation was nothing but the best."

Senior Michaella Cooper said that it was the sense of togetherness that helped her during the performance.

"It was stressful, but fun. During the performance, we hold hands so it unifies us," she said. "It's a great way to show that we are group, not just individuals singing. It was very bittersweet."

Overall, Wright said that he was proud of his students work, despite the stress.

"This is probably the most stressful thing we do all year. I'm really proud of them," he said. "They worked extremely hard. You're putting yourself in front of people that know what they are listening to and it's nerve wracking. This year turned out really well for us."