If one year is any indication of the success the Carroll County High School chorus will have under the direction of Sandra Harmon, the county may end up with more singers than The Voice, The X-Factor and American Idol combined.
During Harmon’s first year at the helm of the chorus programs at Carroll County Intermediate School and Carroll County High School, 21 students earned all-district honors. That number more than doubled this year with 45 making all-district, and five more being named alternates. As one might expect, participation has also increased from 50 students a year ago to 109 this year.
“I just go out in the hall and ask kids, ‘Do you know how to sing, would you like to know how to sing? It embarrasses my daughter,’” said Harmon, whose efforts to find singers have led to a very diverse choral group.
“We have Goth kids, cheerleaders, ball players, some of everything, and they all work together,” she said. “We have a lot of different clicks in school, but once they walk through those doors everything just comes together. We’re a family and try to help each other.”
“One student wanted to collect food for hurricane victims and everybody joined in to help. This is a good group, we have no divas. Everybody lifts each other up. Our goal is to encourage.”
Harmon said one of her first jobs when students join the chorus program is to build up their confidence. Performing solo, which students have to do to make all-district, is often scary for those who haven’t auditioned before.
“It’s the first year of auditioning for some of my seniors, so we just try to get their confidence built up,” she said. “It’s a little nerve wracking, but the kids work hard. We do Karaoke, which really helps build up their confidence, and I stay after school once a week for those who need more attention.”
With the increased interest in chorus, Harmon said talk of expanding the program has been bandied about.
“With consolidation, hopefully we’ll be able to offer more music classes. The kids want to start a show choir,” said Harmon, who has talked to schools in Galax and Independence about starting a “Twin County Choir.”
The chorus will be competing in national competition in Williamsburg during April, so in an effort to help students with the cost of the trip, a couple of chorus members, Melody Tate and Christina Robinson, will be performing with their band, Confuzion, on Dec. 7 at the high school. Admission is $5 for the concert, which starts at 7 p.m.
The chorus will also perform its Christmas Concert on Dec. 17 at the high school. The concert gets under way a 7 p.m.
Although, the choral programs at the intermediate and high school have made great strides in a short time with increased interest by students and Harmon’s determination, she said the chorus program is only going to get stronger.
“It’s been a blast so far. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us,” said Harmon.