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Some of Newton County School System’s (NCSS) most musically talented middle and high school students participated in the Georgia Music Educators Association’s District IV Honor Chorus held at 1st Baptist Church in Avondale Estates on Saturday, January 9. The students who earned a place in this prestigious ensemble, which also included students from DeKalb, Rockdale, Morgan, and Jasper counties, Decatur City Schools, and some private schools, are considered among the most accomplished vocalists in their respective school districts.

According to Newton High School choral director Johnny Edwards, who also serves as the GMEA District 4 Choral Chair, prior to performing with the Honor Chorus, all students were required to learn three pieces of choral literature, including one in a foreign language. They then met the day before the performance for a full day of practice and returned the next morning to practice several more hours before their big show. 

Ms. Chantae D. Pittman, choral director at Alcovy High School; Mr. Joel Singleton, choral director at Eastside High School; and Dr. Deanna Joseph, choral chair at Georgia State University, served as clinicians for the 2016 District IV Honor Chorus.

On the day of the event, the High School Honor Chorus performed "Shout For Joy" by Dan Davison, "Take Me To The Water" by Rollo Dillworth, and "Let Their Celestial Concerts Unite", a college level Baroque piece, by George Frederick Handel. 

The Middle School Treble Choir, under the direction of Ms. Pittman performed: "Fidelia Omnia mandata ejus" by G.B Pergolesi; "She Sings" by Amy F. Bernon; and "El Pambiche Lento" by Juan Tony Guzman. The Middle School Boy's Chorus, under the direction of Mr. Singleton, performed: "Cantate Domino" by Laura Farnell; “Till The Walls Come Down" by Lon Berry; and  "The Flying Dutchman" by Cathryne and Gary Parks.  

“This was the first year we had an all-male middle school chorus and it was very successful,” said Edwards. “According to the participants, it was an extremely enjoyable experience.”

Edwards explained that participating in the District Honor Chorus is a tremendous opportunity for the students involved.

“Honor Chorus students are exposed to a varied repertoire of music and they are afforded the opportunity of being under the direction of a conductor who teaches one level higher than they are currently studying,” he explained. “For example, Ms. Pittman and Mr. Singleton, who are both high school choral directors, served as directors for the Middle School Honor Chorus.”

He added, “When the Honor Chorus participants return to their home schools, they are challenged to continue proper choral etiquette and share it with others.”

“Congratulations to the students who represented the Newton County School System recently in the District IV Honor Chorus,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “I am proud of each of them, not only for the tremendous accomplishment of being selected to participate in the District IV Honor Chorus but also for the fact that they obviously enjoy being in their school chorus. The arts are an integral part of a well-rounded education. A great deal of research exists that clearly indicates the arts—music, visual arts, dance, theatre---are key components of academic success so these students are building a strong educational foundation. Of course, the choral instructors who work with these students have played an important role in their success and should also be commended for their hard work and dedication!”

NCSS students selected to participate in the GMEA District IV Honor Chorus include:

Clements Middle School:

Sarah Faulkner

Michayla Smiley

Dstiny Vickerie

Renard Vickerie

Kentrell Holder

Demarcus Jones

Nicholas Archibald

Ashley Aulis

Joshua  Burrell

McKenzie Hackney

Maliyah Hardeman

Tiffani Singleton

Micah Webb

Cousins Middle School:

Ethan Johnson

David Castillo

Justin Gore

Kayla Williams

Saniyya  Fulton

Emily Mendoza

Evely Angel

Carlie Williams

Belle Floyd

Indian Creek Middle School:

Garrett Wells

Jalen Cason

Jayden Simmons

Corene Fuller

Victoria Johnson

Dallas Stephenson

Van Nipper

Mary Audrey Edwards

Rayne Biondo

Lauren Mask

Maddie Lunt

Alcovy High School:

Hailey Brimingham

Rachel Cronan

Georgianna Eubanks

Tanzania Horne

Leanna (Abbi) Kent

Bre’Anna Simon

Shannon Wells

Shakilra Banes

Caleb Key

Vanessa King

Hannah Lee

Loren Simon

Olusegun Jegede

Brenton Kyles

Darien Woods

Joseph Austin Phillips

Samuel Coleman

Charles B. Abercrombie

Jordan Brown

Keira Stakely

Tyren Frazier

Na’Jee Jenkins

Moriah Barnes

DorLinte Jackson

Kamaria Griffin

Eastside High School:

Kaylee Moss

Gracie Gaston

Shannon Harper

Hannah Thompson

Sahra Draper

Michael Downton

Ross Thompson

Anthony Robinson

Isaac Ugan

Jackson Grady

Josh Dean

Jessica Ugan

Kassie Livingston

Ava Jane Teasley

Nyah Harris

Newton High School:

Aveolela Arkins

Josiah Webb

Noble Pryor

Darius Simmons

Shawn Simmons

Laferah Delphin

Savon Ballatt