BY CURTIS CARDEN, Elizabethton Star
Songbirds from one local high school will soon be on display for a national audience.
Students from the Elizabethton High School choir recently learned they will be among some of the nation’s top musical performers for the annual National Memorial Day Choral Festival held in Washington, D.C. Both men and women’s advanced ensemble teams will be participating in the showcase.
EHS was the only high school in the country invited to participate and will be able to perform during the three-day event, which includes a parade and show inside the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The event gets underway May 27.
“It really is exciting for the students, “ EHS Choir Director Deborah Gouge said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. They are so excited.”
But much like the other fine arts programs at the school, there isn’t time to get caught up in the moment. While excitement is brewing, she added that both the men’s and women’s ensemble have been hard at work putting in time for their March 19 concert at Dollywood. Over the past couple of weeks, students have made appearances locally at different events, including the legislative breakfast and the 90th anniversary of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club.
The event is presented by Music Celebrations International, the American Veterans Center and the United States Air Force. Created in 2008, the festival serves as a way to remember all veterans, past and present, for their sacrifices for the country.
Gouge mentioned that support for the students has been great since the announcement.
In an email provided by the director, the current amount of donations has reduced the cost, so far, to approximately $800 out of pocket per participant, including chaperones, who will pay as well. The previous amount was $1,050 per participant.
Gouge added that buses, hotel, all music, tips, shirts for the parade and most meals are covered in the entire cost but any additional support could go a long way for students.
“There are still opportunities to help,” she said. “If there’s anybody out there that would like to sponsor a student, or contribute what they can, it would be greatly appreciated.”
Currently, the choir students are planning to hold a couple of concerts to serve as benefits to assist with funding, along with individual fundraisers to help with costs.
Information on upcoming events will be announced, when made available, in future editions of the Elizabethton Star. Individuals wanting to help with the choir trip can contact Gouge via email at email@example.com or call the school at (423) 547-8015.