Last updated: November 14. 2013 12:19PM - 1146 Views
By - mstrother@civitasmedia.com

LaGrange High School chorus director Katie Westbrook conducts the more than 150 chorus students on stage in preparation for Thursday's fall concert, 'The Gift of Music,' at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church on the square.
Matthew Strother | Daily News
LaGrange High School chorus director Katie Westbrook conducts the more than 150 chorus students on stage in preparation for Thursday's fall concert, 'The Gift of Music,' at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church on the square.
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More than 150 LaGrange High School chorus members will fill the stage at First Baptist Church on the square Thursday for “The Gift of Music.”
The fall choral concert will feature Baroque, traditional spiritual, folk and patriotic music. Songs will range from “familiar favorites” as well as unfamiliar pieces “that might become new favorites,” said LHS chorus director Katie Westbrook.
The show calls on tradition for its title and theme.
“LaGrange High really prides itself on tradition, and when creating a title for our fall show, I went back and looked at old chorus programs presented by Suzanne Logue and Marty Davis,” Westbrook said. “These two women built a tradition of fine choral music at Gardner Newman and LaGrange High, and I want our current students to have a similar choral experience.”
“The Gift of Music” is an old concert title that Westbrook thought was fitting for the upcoming season and “is truly reflective of what music means to all of us.”
“It is a gift and our lives would be profoundly different without it,” she said.”The concert opens with traditional Shaker hymn 'Simple Gifts.' It's a fresh and appealing arrangement first performed at Brigham Young University. My advanced women's ensemble has really enjoyed working on this piece.”
Chorus members said they were ready for Thursday's concert, and felt their work so far had brought them more cohesiveness.
“I think fall concert brings out the best in all of us,” said Mary Kathryn Hardigree, a senior. “It shows how musical everyone can be singing classically and professionally. We work as a team and every team member works to achieve excellence.”
Hardigree added that every member is held to a certain standard and “it's our chorus duty to exceed those standards. These experiences prepare us for future journeys we will face in life.”
Chorus member Teanna Glenn , a junior, said the chorus has become important to her during her “high school journey.”
“I have learned to work as a team, stay committed and improve my voice,” she said. “At LaGrange High School, we begin with the end in mind, and work to be the best that we know we can be.”
Sophomore Jenna Conrad said the chorus taught her “the true meaning of teamwork.” All members have to do their part and pull their weight for the group to succeed.
“We are one big family and we all work hard for a successful show,” Conrad said. “Chorus has also taught me the importance of paying attention to the details, for it is the details that make excellence. All the hard work pays off in the end. It is such a privilege to be a part of such a talented group of people.”
Anna Myers, a senior, said her favorite song of the set is “Ain't No Grave,” a Johnny Cash song that sits apart from the other fare in Thursday's concert.
“It's fun to sing and to listen to. It's very upbeat and energetic,” she said. “Our fall concert is quite different from Spring Concert. We have an opportunity to focus on classical music and it really gives us a chance, as a chorus, to showcase our vocal abilities.”
Freshman chorus member Macy Willis said she was already looking ahead to the spring concert “if it's anywhere close to how awesome the fall concert is.”
“I can't believe I'm actually in LHS chorus and can't wait for what's to come,” she said.
The chorus members participating have sung in school, community and church choirs, but a large number will make their LHS choral debut Thursday, Westbrook said. The ensembles will be accompanied by Ashley Hawkins Jordan. Accompanying the women's ensemble on French horn is Peter Miller during “Life Has Loveliness to Sell.”
LaGrange High School Chorus presents “The Gift of Music” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church on the square. A suggested donation of $5 for each concert attendee is requested.

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