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Rockdale HS Choruses give stellar performances
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The Rockdale County High School Choral Department presented its Fall Concert Nov. 2 at the First United Methodist Church of Conyers. Before the very first note was sung, the high level of choral discipline was evident as they climbed in orderly silence up a long flight of stairs and onto an unfamiliar stage, easier said then done.

The three vocal ensembles - Advanced Women's Choir, Advanced Chamber Choir and Concert Choir - set an extremely high standard of choral excellence, of which Rockdale County and the high school can be very proud.

The opening selections, "the Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" established the a capella musical standard for the evening's concert. Signing without accompaniment in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Latin, Arabic and Swahili) and from memory, these choirs displayed a seemingly effortless combination of correct pitch and intonation, good diction, choral balance tonal quality, dynamic expression and raw emotion. This was particularly evident in the performance of "Precious Lord" with its difficult modern four-part harmonic progressions.

Another unique listening experience was heard with the fusion of rap lyrics and classical singing in "Elijah Rock." The emotional dynamics and range of expressiveness captured in "The Famine Song" reflected well the pathos of hunger and drought in the Sudan. Complex vocal syncopations and polyrhthms were performed (in Latin) with amazing precision in "Daemon Irrepit." But the final selection "Hope for Resolution," sung in Swahili, was the piece-de-resistance. With the female voices on stage and the male voices in the aisles, Choral Direction Antoine Holman created a surround-sound effect with multiple choirs, a choral arrangement first introduced by Bach in 1725.

In all, the citizens of Rockdale County were treated to a musical evening of excellence. Kudos to Mr. Holman, Assistant Director Gus Godbee, and Conyers Middle School Choral Director Brittney Jaynes for giving our students a solid musical foundation. Congratulations also to all of the students and their parents.

Congratulations also to all the students and parents and school administration for their participation and general support.

Dr. Colin Forde is a retired middle and high school counselor and choral director. A Conyers resident, he is currently a minister of music with the United Methodist Church and music director of the Conyers Institute of Performing Arts. He can be reached for comment at (770) 761-3734.