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Singing success

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Students earn spots on national, state choruses

By Jesef Williams

KERSHAW – Daniel Reeves remembers singing in the children’s choir at his church when he was only 5 years old.
Music has always been a part of his life – from elementary school to his involvement today with the chorus at Andrew Jackson High School. And now that talent will take him and a classmate to one of the country’s largest cities.
Reeves and Andrew Miles, both seniors at AJHS, were selected last month to participate in the National Men’s Honor Choir for the American Choral Directors Association. They will perform as part of the association’s national conference, which will be March 9-12 in Chicago.
More than 4,000 people from across the nation auditioned for 300 slots in the men’s choir. Miles and Reeves are two of fewer than 10 South Carolinians to make it.
The auditioning pool consisted of not just high school students, but also college students and professionals with music degrees.
“Words can’t express how proud I am,” AJHS choral director Lizzi Eargle said. “It’s such a huge accomplishment.”
Each person was required to submit an audio tape as their audition. The auditioner had to sing a classical song, scales and “My Country, Tis of Thee.”
For his classical selection, Miles sang “Coro Mio Ben,” while Reeves picked “Danny Boy.” Awarding-winning composure Carl Strommer arranged both pieces.
Miles, who sings tenor, said he didn’t expect to be selected.
“It blew my mind,” he said.
Reeves, also a tenor, thought the same.
“It’s overwhelming that our small town can have two people from the same tiny school go to this massive choir together,” Reeves said.
All-State Chorus
Dorian Knight is another AJHS student to earn a spot on an outside vocal group.
The 10th-grader is the only person from his school to made the All-State Chorus.
He auditioned Nov. 14 in Columbia and was notified of his selection later that week.
Students could make one of three choruses – a men’s, women’s and one that features a mix. More than 1,900 people auditioned, with just 600 of them being selected.
In competing for a spot, students audition in quintets. Four other students sang with Knight, who sings bass.
Students within each quartet are scored individually, with Knight being the only one from AJHS to make it.
This marks the third straight year that AJHS has had someone selected for All-State. Before that, the school hadn’t had any berths, Eargle said.
“Sophomores don’t typically make it,” Eargle said. “I’m really proud of him for making it.”
Knight is also part of history, as this is the first year South Carolina features an all-male chorus as part of its All-State line-up. Those students will stage performances in March at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.
“I am really excited,” he said.

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Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152