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From Marshville to Marvin – music brings students together

Guest Conductor and Clinician Craig Estep, a Sun Valley High School graduate, has performed and conducted in 29 countries and 48 states.

“Tonight, there are no school rivalries. Tonight, we gather from across the county to make beautiful music together.” With that introduction, the Guest Conductor and Clinician, Mr. Craig Estep, set the mood and raised expectations for what was to come.

The student vocalists delivered. Music from Handel, Bernon, and Ticheli filled the Batte Center for Performing Arts at Wingate University. Within the Batte Center’s Hannah McGee Theatre, 101 Middle School students from seven UCPS schools (Cuthbertson, East Union, Monroe, Parkwood, Porter Ridge, Sun Valley, and Weddington Middle Schools) joined their voices and started the evening with “Sing for Joy.”

The High School All-County Chorus followed them on stage and continued a delightful evening of vocal music. The high school musicians brought to life “Earth Song” and “With a Voice of Singing.” Harrison Taylor (Cuthbertson High School) and Amanda Florian (Central Academy of Technology and Arts) were featured as soloists in the evening’s final number, “Lock Lomond.”

The High School Chorus was 95 voices strong with students from Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Cuthbertson High School, Forest Hills High School, Marvin Ridge High School, Parkwood High School, and Sun Valley High School.

The students were selected through an Audition Process for All-County Chorus. As members of the All-County Chorus, they spent a day perfecting their craft from Mr. Estep. Mr. Estep, a Sun Valley High School graduate, has performed and conducted in 29 countries and 48 states. His love of vocal music was evident as he implored the audience to support their children in singing.

“Singing,” he said, “has taken me to the four corners of the globe. It is because of Sun Valley High School and Union County Public Schools that I have been able to live my dream doing what I love.”

Dr. Mary Ellis, Superintendent, thanked Wingate University for hosting the evening and for providing Ms. Polly Bostic, Wingate University Accompanist, to perform with the students. Dr. Ellis shared the commitment of UCPS to supporting the Arts.

“Whether it is Visual Art Shows, the Superintendent’s Art Collection of student-made work, the theatrical performances in our schools, the Band programs, or events like All-County Chorus, we want to allow our students the opportunity to grow and showcase their talents," Ellis said.

"We understand that education cannot be ‘One size fits all.’ It has to be ‘My size fits me.’ We continue to look for more avenues for each of our students to find success and then we celebrate that success," she said. "We are proud of our students and their teachers and love having the opportunity to share their talents with the community.”

All-County Chorus is an annual event and an important part of the Arts Program.


Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Oct 19, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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