Twenty tapped for honor’s choir
Summer generally offers a nice break or a chance to work a summer job for most students, but many Seymour High School choral students found themselves busier than ever with choral activities.
The busy summer has carried into the fall, according to choral director Jean Burkhart, who recently had 20 students named to the All East Tennessee Honor’s Choir. Seymour had the highest number of students in East Tennessee to make the All East Honor’s Choir and was the only school to have all 20 students to make the choir with no alternates.
The following students were selected to represent their school and East Tennessee at a Nov. 19 concert: C.J. Coffey, Brad Headrick, Zach Crass, Jordan Pitner, Richard Clark, Ashley Iler, Rachel Stooksbury, Felicia Brown, Lindsey Clark, Ashley Katka, Andrea Lemons, Kristen Clark, Dustin Cowan, Ashley Cutshaw, Jessica Alston, Katie Thomas, Marcus Baker, Cody Boling, Kimber Pegler and Nicole Ambrose.
During the summer, recent Seymour graduates John Patterson and Ashley Johnson won the talent contest at the National Beta Convention. They sang “The Prayer” and were the unanimous favorites of both the audience and the judges, according to Burkhart.
This is the first time that Seymour High School students won the talent contest on a national level.
Johnson and Patterson are now majoring in music in college.
Seymour junior Ashley Cutshaw spent 16 days touring in Europe with the Tennessee Ambassadors. This is a choral group comprised of students nominated by their choral director to represent the State of Tennessee in an elite honor’s choir. Cutshaw sang with students from all over Tennessee in historic cathedrals and churches in such places as England, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Junior Marcus Baker spent several weeks this summer singing with the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. Baker had to audition for this opportunity and was one of a select few to be accepted. While at Governor’s School, Baker auditioned and was granted a leading role in their opera production. He plans to pursue a degree in music after graduating from Seymour High School.
Meanwhile, students in the Seymour High School Choral Department are preparing for their 13th annual Veterans Day concerts.
The concerts will be held at Seymour High School’s auditorium on Nov. 2 and 3 at 1:30 p.m. and also at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Admission is free.
Local veterans always say that Seymour’s program is one of their favorites because it features the students as they sing, act and dance, Burkhart said.
There will be special seating for the veterans as well as a reception for them after each program.
Students will follow those performances by joining the sanctuary choir of First Baptist Church of Seymour to present the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah.
The concert will take place at First Baptist Church on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.
The choir will be joined by members of the Knoxville Symphony, and solos will be filled by former Seymour choral students who are majoring in music.
Burkhart said that it was difficult to choose the guest soloists for this year’s performance because there are currently 17 former students who are now working on undergraduate or advanced degrees in music.
Burkhart stated that this is an unusually high number of students majoring in music considering that the program is only 13 years old, but she attributes this to the extraordinary amount of musical talent that seems to be concentrated in the Seymour area. She finally chose the soloists by picking those students who had graduated first.