ALL-COUNTY HONORS CHORUSES
By Special to the Times-News/Carolina Concert Choir
It took a leap of faith when the Carolina Concert Choir decided to expand its All County Honors Chorus program into the middle schools this year, but it paid off. On Saturday, a near-capacity audience of 385 filled Stull Hall at Grace Lutheran Church for the performance of the All County High School, Middle School and Home School Honors Choruses' concert.
Thirty high school and 45 middle school musically talented Henderson County students with diverse backgrounds and experiences auditioned and were accepted into the program to perform the concert.
Now in its seventh year, the All County High School Honors Chorus has given vocally talented students an opportunity to work with top-notch clinicians, which not only expands their knowledge of choral music but also enables them to perform for the public beyond their school choral programs.
The students attended an all-day clinic to prepare for the concert, then performed for the public the next day. Members of the Carolina Concert Choir volunteered their time to make the tight schedule run smoothly.
Professor Lawrence Doebler, the high school clinician and artistic director/conductor of the Carolina Concert Choir, was joined by his daughter-in-law, Liz Davis Doebler, to conduct the middle school all-day clinic.
“Working with these talented students is a joy! Each school and home school student has been enhanced by participating in this communal activity," Professor Doebler said. "Their teachers and mentors are to be commended. The support shown by their families and friends is terrific! We all need to be connected to the arts. Community support of our clinics and concerts is vital.”
While the concert music was challenging and diverse, students began preparation in September with their music teachers and received a standing ovation after the performance.
“Without the help of their music teachers, the students would not have had the success they had in such a short time,” said Judy Meinzer, past president of the Carolina Concert Choir. “I observed some middle school students audition with shaking knees, then perform the concert with great confidence thanks to the clinicians. It was uplifting!”
Dr. Stuart and Barbara Glassman are financial supporters of the Honors Chorus.
“Choral music was the only thing that got me through my junior high years,” said Barbara Glassman. ”There is real value for those who may not be star athletes or at the top of their class. Choral music allows a person to excel and express themselves in a meaningful way. For me it was life-transforming. I wanted the children in our community to have the same privilege. These talented students deserve a chance to show their stuff.”
Matthew Gladin summed up his experience as a member of the High School Honors Chorus by saying, “The beauty of the art that Professor Doebler brought to the music made it come alive and related it to each of our lives. It was an amazing experience.”
Additional grants in support of the All County Honors Chorus were received from The Community Foundation of Henderson County and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources administered by the Arts Council of Henderson County.
The All County Honors Chorus students will perform again as the guest ensemble of the upcoming Carolina Concert Choir’s Winter Choral Celebration concert on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Bo Thomas Auditorium of Blue Ridge Community College. The concert will include the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah with orchestra, seasonal favorites and other winter themed music.
The Carolina Concert Choir is an auditioned chorus of singers from Henderson County and the surrounding area including Brevard and Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina. It performs two to three concerts per year and is seeking interested singers. Auditions are open now. To audition, contact Professor Lawrence Doebler at 607-351-2585 or email@example.com.
Advance tickets for the December concerts may be purchased from choir members, the Crate Wine Project, the Henderson County Visitor's Center or at www.carolinaconcertchoir.org.