High note: BV student selected for regional choir
By Haley Schichtl
Sophomore Nathan Edwards is the first ever Berryville choir student selected to participate in the Southwestern Section of the American Choral Directors Association, a high honor in the choir community.
Edwards, who is in his second year of choir, was one of three Berryville students to audition.
“The audition window began in June, and they had until the middle of October to submit their audition,” choir director Ben Winn said. “It’s a blind audition, so they don’t know who it is; they’re just given an ID number.”
Winn said 670 students were selected out of 1,100 that auditioned in the region, which includes Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
“The American Choral Directors Association sponsors this regional and national honor choir; it alternates every other year, so this year is a regional year and Arkansas is hosting it in Little Rock,” Winn said.
Being selected means going to Little Rock to rehearse for four days with Mississippi State’s choir director Dr. Gary Packwood.
“He will be in rehearsals at Little Rock between March 4 and 7, which is a Wednesday through Saturday,” Winn said. “Then he’ll present a concert that Saturday afternoon to the general public and the choral directors that fall in our region.”Being selected to attend the conference is a big achievement, and it can lead to more opportunities for the talented students to continue their pursuit of music.
“It’s a confirmation that I’m doing well with my lessons in choir, and on top of that it’s another thing I can add to hopefully be able to get a good scholarship for college,” Edwards said.
Winn also commented on the networking aspect of the events as well. Not only will Edwards get to talk with some of the top choir students in the region, but with college professors as well.
“One of the benefits of getting all these recognitions at the regional, state and national level, is college professors, including Dr. Packwood, kind of use this as their opportunity… to scope out prospective students,” Winn said.
Edwards said he not only loves learning music, but choir is a big stress-reliever for him.
“It’s someplace where I can be with people with some of the same troubles, or none of the same troubles, and we can just act like a family for 45 minutes a day, and it’s kind of therapeutic,” Edwards said. “And … learning those songs and the meanings behind them is just awesome.”
Winn mentioned that Edwards is also active with The Lyric Theater in Harrison. He participated in their production of Grease last year, and will play the role of Sodapop in their production of The Outsiders in early December.
“Anything involving music is a way to create a family in its own right,” Edwards said.
Winn said a few choir concerts are coming up for the holiday season: a collaboration with the Celebration Choir of Eureka Springs at the First United Methodist Church for their annual Nine Lessons Service on Dec. 8; a performance at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs on Dec. 11; and their annual winter concert, which includes all the Berryville choir groups on Dec. 17 at Southern Heights Baptist Church.