Three Garrison Forest Middle School Vocalists Selected for Maryland All-State Junior Chorus

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Three 8th Grade vocalists from Garrison Forest School have been selected to the Maryland All-State Junior Chorus. The girls were selected from more than 1,200 students to fill only 160 chorus slots.

Olivia Herlein, Charlotte Nanteza and Ashley Wells, 8th Grade vocalists in the Garrison Forest School Middle School Chorus and the audition-only, a cappella Blue Belles ensemble, have been selected to the prestigious Maryland All-State Junior Chorus. This honor recognizes these young women as among the finest vocalists in the State of Maryland; more than 1,200 7th, 8th and 9th Grade students (girls and boys) from across Maryland auditioned for the 160 slots in the Chorus.

Following three days of rehearsal, March 7-9, the Maryland All-State Junior Chorus, under the direction of composer and conductor Paul Caldwell, will perform in concert on Sunday, March 9, 1:00 pm, Parkville High School, Parkville, Maryland. The concert is open to the public.

Virginia Flynn, Garrison Forest’s Middle School music teacher and director of the Middle School vocal ensembles, is thrilled to have three students, once again, selected for the All-State Chorus. Last year, three Garrison Forest students made the cut, including Olivia Herlein. Seven GFS Middle School students auditioned for the All-State Chorus this year, working with Mrs. Flynn for four weeks prior to the audition. The audition process requires the students to sing technically challenging music, both accompanied and a cappella. In addition, they must be able to sight read and sight sing musical passages during the audition. During the audition, Ashley Wells received a superior score, ranking her as one of the top sopranos in the All-State Chorus.

“It’s very important for my most talented vocalists to have the opportunity to extend themselves musically and vocally, therefore I always invite my top students to audition for the All-State Chorus,” says Mrs. Flynn, who is serving as Immediate Past President of the Maryland Music Educators Association. “In preparation for the audition, students practiced after school and during lunch. This prepares them for the audition and increases their vocal leadership and musicianship skills which they will use in our chorus.”

Last spring, the Garrison Forest Middle School Chorus took top honors at the 2013 Music in the Parks competition at Hershey Park for the third consecutive year. The 45-student musician and Mrs. Flynn won the “First Place Women’s Choir with a Superior Rating” trophy and the “Top Overall Middle School/Junior High Choir” honor for their collective score of 198 out of a possible 200, making GFS the highest-scoring ensemble of the day.

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Sarah Achenbach

Aja Jackson
Garrison Forest School
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