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SCES students excel at competition

The music programs in ScrevenCounty are top notch.

Earlier this month, the middle and high school band ensembles were judged at the highest ranking of “superior” at separate festivals.

Now the elementary school chorus of select fourth and fifth graders also has added another “superior” distinction to its growing list of accomplishments.

SCES earned its latest honor March 19 at Armstrong Atlantic in Savannah as the group of 44 students sang for three voice judges. The 10 and 11-year-olds also sight-read music, which last year was optional not mandatory like this competition.

Both of the elementary school teachers, Rhonda Hinson and Matthew Kersey, admitted they were shocked their students had to sight-read.

But even though it was a surprise for the students and instructors, the SCES singers were impressive in recognizing the notes.

“They did very well,” Kersey said. “They got superiors.”

Kersey said the judges looked to see how the students engaged themselves into the music and the line accuracy. The sight-reading the students were required to view had sudden changes in tempo.

Out of the seven-county district, SCES was one of only three elementary schools to sing for the judges. The other singing groups were from middle and high schools.

“They are exemplarily students,” Hinson said. “We worked a lot on presentation and it paid off big.”

The SCES students sang “Winds,” which is a dramatic song that evokes the feeling of movement during a storm, and “Bless the Lord O My Soul,” a very modern and difficult piece that has students singing different parts at the same time.

The scoring by the judges is broken down into seven sub-categories and the SCES students registered a “superior” in each of those sub-categories.

Last year the elementary school group that attended the competition also did well, but received two lower sub-category “excellent” ratings.

“This is another benchmark year,” Kersey said.

The SCES group also was accompanied by art teacher Kaye Rothenbuhler, who played the flute and the handbell choir from the SylvaniaFirstBaptistChurch. The educator and handbell choir performed with the SCES chorus during the local Christmas Concert.

The elementary school chorus also was honored by the Georgia Music Educators at the Weston in Savannah. SCES was one of only two elementary school programs in the PeachState to reach the recognition. The other elementary school chorus was from LakeJoy, near Warner Robins.

“That is something you shoot for,” Kersey said. “It is quite a milestone in a career to take an ensemble to the Georgia Music Educators.”

Hinson and Kersey said they asked to keep last year’s mantra of “we’re No. 1” in mind and the students did. The fourth graders from last year are this year’s fifth graders.