For more than 18 years, the holidays have been made brighter by the joyful sounds of children in the community performing favorite songs of the season. Young Singers of West Georgia continues the traditional Christmas Memories concert with their upcoming Counting Down to Christmas Dec. 13 and 14, hosted by Franklin Road Baptist Church.
“Over the years, Christmas Memories has grown and developed into a musical production that ushers in the holiday season for many families,” said Stacey Hardigree, conductor and artistic director of Young Singers of West Georgia. “Combining a musical variety of old and new, popular and sacred, the show captures the many emotions of Christmas. The wonder of youth, the excitement of the holidays, and the spiritual importance of Christmas are all interwoven into an experience that showcases some of the community’s most talented young vocalists.”
Featuring about 100 singers ages 8 to 18, the production includes solos, ensembles and whole-choir performances. Movement and excitement are created through choreography, Hardigree said, and staging and Santa Claus himself will make a grand appearance in the concert.
Several Young Singers recently were accepted into Georgia Music Educator’s Association 2012 All-State Chorus. These students who received training through the Young Singers Advanced Musicianship Course passed a rigorous audition including sight-reading, scale-singing, aural theory exams and artistic solos in order to be accepted into All-State: Jennifer Aplin, Abigail Brock, Jenna Conrad, Sam Cleveland, Tyler Crew, Stevie Hardigree, Katie Holbrook, Caroline Lumpkin, Marshall Todd, Sophia Villamor and Shelby Warren will travel to Athens in February for a three-day learning experience and final performance at the Classic Center with top students across the state under the direction of nationally acclaimed conductors.
“We are grateful to have artistic support from some of LaGrange’s most experienced musical production specialists,” Hardigree said. “Marty Davis, the former choral director at LaGrange High School, has played an active supportive role in preparing the choristers as well as Debbie Bordona and Katie Westbrook, who have served as choreographers.
“We are also always honored to have some of LaGrange’s finest instrumentalists accompanying us at Christmas. Callie Hammond (violin), Ashley Hawkins (piano), Chris Barnes (guitar) and Joel Forbus (percussion), bring a top-notch, professional quality to every performance.”
Several soloists and seniors will be featured in this concert including Elyse Barnett, Mary Kathryn Hardigree, Katie Holbrook, Danielle McCants, Emily Polk, Malcolm Stephen, Kylie Taunton, Hope Tedescucci and others.
“Most of these vocalists have been a part of Young Singers since childhood and have become very skilled performers,” Hardigree said. “It is a rare and unique gift to be able to coach, train and mentor students through childhood, adolescence and then into adulthood. Providing exceptionally engaged students with quality performance opportunities is one of our missions.”
Selections from the show will include classical selections from Handel’s “Messiah,” such as “Glory to God,” “Rejoice Greatly” and the “Hallelujah Chorus,” to Broadway numbers such as “Counting Down to Christmas” from “A Christmas Story: The Musical” and “Christmastown” from “Elf.”
“Exposing both our choristers and our audience to music they may have never heard is another one of our goals in Young Singers,” Hardigree said.
The Young Singers perform Christmas Memories at Franklin Road Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or in advance at Stephens Exclusives, from any choir member, or by calling 706-594-1699.