Peach County sends more students to All-State Chorus

awoolen@macon.comMarch 12, 2014 

Music teacher Brandi Dent, left, leads the All-State Chorus students in a practice at Byron Middle School. Cacey Reason and Breanna Story, right, sing the alto part.

ANGELA WOOLEN — The Sun News

  • Byron Middle School students were selected for All-State Chorus.

BYRON -- Singing is becoming increasingly popular in Peach County schools.

Superior singing even more so as eight students from Byron Middle School and six from Peach County High School traveled to Athens to participate in the Georgia Music Educators Association’s All-State Chorus Feb. 20-22.

Students audition for spots on the chorus, and Byron Middle doubled its number of participants this year, from four last year. Both schools had more students attend All-State Chorus this year than any time during the past 10 years, according to a news release.

More than 8,000 students auditioned, and 1,800 were selected.

“They beat out a lot of other kids,” said Peach County Teacher of the Year Brandi Dent, who teaches music at Byron Middle.

Dent has been at the school for five years, and she hopes the number of children who perform in these kinds of events will increase even more.

“For me to have eight says a lot for the program,” she said.

During auditions, students are required to sing a piece of music, sight read (perform music without prior practice) and apply music theory for judges. Students must score an 80 or higher to be selected for the chorus, said Dent.

“I’m just proud,” she said.

One of her students, Emilie Bruce, has been singing since she was in fifth grade. The eighth-grade soprano held on to her high notes during a recent practice for the spring concert.

Bryson Dent, a seventh-grader, was sight reading the tenor part during a rehearsal.

Although his mother might be his music teacher, she said she didn’t push him to try out. In fact, she didn’t know he could really sing until she heard him in a musical production in elementary school.

“It’s been in him ever since,” she said.

Her son’s favorite part of the All-State Chorus was getting to hear the finished product on stage.

“That’s when you get to hear everything sound better,” Bryson said.

In addition to Emilie and Bryson, the middle school students selected for All-State were Cacey Reason, Mary Jo McCary, Ethan Manns, Simon Grant, Leia William and Breanna Story. Peach County High All-State students were Jemuel Ramirez, Lucas Gray, Hunter Johnson, Colton Cason, Noah Grant and Preston Price. The high school students are directed by Quahn Marshall.

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