For a few moments, the sound of singing was replaced with a few giggles.
James Dunaway, conductor of the Georgia Music Educators Association 10th District Middle School Honor Chorus, had just told the girls in his choir to watch out. The beauty of their voices in singing "Come To Me , O My Love" might cause the boys in the room to fall head over heels in love with them.
The brief break in the mood from the rigors of learning five songs in an eight-hour marathon rehearsal in preparation for Friday evening's concert at First Baptist Church was welcome for the 80 members of the chorus.
"This is a mini All-State experience for these students," said Janet Bailey, choral director at Evans Middle School who selected about a dozen of her pupils for the middle school honor chorus.
Almost all of the pupils in the middle school chorus attended school in Columbia County. Middle school pupils from Davidson were the only Richmond County attendees in the chorus.
While pupils sang in the choir rehearsal room upstairs, about 150 high school students spent the day under the tutelage of Dr. Rodney Caldwell of Georgia Southern University.
Pupils in the high school honor chorus came from several counties in the district including Richmond, Columbia, Jefferson, McDuffie, Oglethorpe and Washington.
Music educators started the district music festival in the area about three years ago, said Jean Lancaster, Evans High School choral director and hostess for the event.
"They get to participate in a large choral setting, something they may not get to do at their own school," she said.
Another reason the district chorus was started was to recognize vocally talented pupils who might not make it into the state chorus.
"It's not so much based on singing as it is musicianship," said Ms. Bailey of the requirements for the all state chorus.
Pupils in the all district chorus were handpicked for the event by their school choral directors. Making the all-state chorus requires an audition and the ability to sing major and minor scales, have a good tonal memory and to sight read a piece of music acapella.
Music educators said they think the all-district chorus is a good experience for their pupils.
"They learn a lot of skills doing this," said Ms. Bailey. "They are around a group of students that are more like-minded. In their own choruses, there are all types of students. This helps ones who are more serious develop their skills further."
Pupils participating in the chorus said they enjoyed the opportunity.
"It's a challenge to see what you can do," said Evans Middle School eighth grader Jennings Williams.
Most of the songs the pupils learned were brand new to them as the sheet music didn't arrive until Thursday afternoon.
The hard work paid off for the middle and high school choruses. Friday evening's crowd rewarded them with a standing ovation at the end of the concert.
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