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Jr. All-State Choir Performs in Charleston

By Staff | Feb 21, 2018

Kiara Hughes, Makayla Haught, Jacob Swartz, Michael Brown, Jonathan Clay and Bruce Garruccio participated in the Jr. High All-State Choir.

On Jan. 25, students from Tyler Consolidated attended the 2018 West Virginia American Choral Directors Association Conference. The students Makayla Haught (soprano), Kiara Hughes (alto), Bruce Garruccio and Jacob Swartz (tenor), and Jonathan Clay and Michael Brown (bass) represented the county as part of the Jr. High All-State Choir. They had the privilege to work with over 240 students across the state under the direction of Dr. Craig Denison.

Dr. Craig Denison is Associate Director of Music Education and Choral Music at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before that, he served as Artistic Director of Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir, and director of the Master Chorale at Florida International University. He taught for many years at Saint Mark’s Episcopal School as Director of Vocal Music. Dr. Denison has also served as Music Director for the Colorado Children’s Chorale and Associate Music Director and Conductor of The American Boychoir. His chapter on boychoir pedagogy is newly published in The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy.

After spending Thursday and Friday rehearsing all day, the students held a performance at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 27. The performance included “Empty” by Timothy Takach, “He Never Failed Me Yet” by Robert Ray, “Yanaway Heyona” by Brian Tate featuring Kiara Hughes as a selected soloist, “Quiet Sea” by Jill Friedersdorf and Melissa Keylock, “Wide Open Spaces” by Sarah Quartel, “Sing Praise To God” by Haydn, and “My Funny Valentine” arranged by Jay Althouse.

Aside from their own performance, the WV All-State Chamber and Collegiate Choirs held performances as part of the concert day.

While at the WVACDA conference, Tyler Consolidated Director of Choral Activities, Abram Negie, was selected to be the new chair for the WV Jr. High All-State Chorus. “There was a role that needed filled and I decided that I couldn’t sit by and hope someone would step in without offering to do it myself. I love what the WVACDA stands for; I’m glad to be a part of it. We are here for the students, and the arts make a difference to them and those that teach them.”