TA Singers One Of Few Choirs Chosen To Perform At State Conference
Posted: November 9, 2012
School Singers rehearse on Thursday with director Katie Pyles accompanying on piano. The group was one of five choirs chosen from across the state to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference. (Photos by Nikki Fox)
Maria Leckey, 15, a sophomore at TA, rehearses with the choir Thursday.
Although TA Singers director Katie Pyles initially told her students that their recorded entry would not likely be chosen for the honor of performing at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference — some groups submit entries for consideration year after year — she was delighted to be proven wrong.
“To get selected on our first try was pretty impressive,” said Pyles, who has directed the group for five years. “That says something [about] these kids.”
From what Pyles has heard from others associated with past music programs, the last time a choir from Turner Ashby performed at the conference was in 1979.
The singers are looking to wow teachers with their performance next Friday at The Homestead in Hot Springs, where they will belt out six different selections for instructors from across the commonwealth.
In addition to the TA Singers, about 14 other groups will perform throughout the weekend, including bands, chamber orchestras and choirs at the collegiate, and middle and high school levels, according to a program on the VMEA website.
In addition to TA, four of the groups from the other schools are choirs.
The James Madison University Jazz Ensemble will also perform at the conference.
“It really is a good opportunity for [them] to have their voices heard,” said Pyles, who directs the audition-based TA Singers in 45-minute practices every day throughout the school year. All the practice has led to a multitude of successes. The group has not competed as a group yet this year, but it has received superior ratings at the District Choral Assessment the last four years.
Individuals have seen successes this year, however. Almost 30 students made it into the district choir and one student — senior Wes Riddle — made the Virginia Honors Choir, overseen by the VMEA. Despite the continual practices, students insist they never tire of what some say is their favorite class.
“It’s nice to come in and just have a good time,” said Riddle, 18, of Harrisonburg. “We always have a fun time [singing].”
On Thursday, the students, who said they weren’t sure at first how big of a deal the conference was, were settling their nerves before the big gig.
“I think it’s hitting us that this is a really big deal,” said Emily Shickel, 18, of Bridgewater.
Pyles believes her students “will rise to the occasion” at the performance.
“They have worked so hard; I think I’m just going to be proud about whatever happens,” she said. “They’ve practiced so much, I think it’ll just come out perfectly.”
Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org