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University of the Cumberlands holds High School Choral Workshop


WILLIAMSBURG,Ky.--University of the Cumberlands’ Music Department recently hosted a workshop for area high school choral students to help them prepare to audition for Kentucky All-State Chorus, sponsored by Kentucky Music Education Association (KMEA). The six area high school choirs that participated in the workshop were: Corbin, directed by Linda Hood; Lynn Camp, directed by Charlie Collins; Red Bird Mission, directed by Mark Smallwood; Barbourville, directed by Steve Chafin; McCreary Central, directed by Jennifer Murphy; and Williamsburg, directed by Jackie Melton.

The goal of Cumberlands’ Music Department was to provide a positive experience for students in local, southeastern, Kentucky high school choirs as they focus on the All State audition process, which is both challenging and competitive. Dr. David Etter, of Cumberlands’ Music Department stated “We want to do whatever we can do to assist the music students of our region, who sometimes have not received adequate recognition for their abilities. So, we designed a program to help them learn and become more familiar with the audition piece, as well as with the whole audition procedure.”.

In the last few years, sight reading has also become a component of All-State auditions, and each student is required to sight read and sing four measures of an unfamiliar piece of music. For many, this truly can be a daunting experience. To help alleviate the students’ anxiety, John Stegner, adjunct music professor at Cumberlands, led sight-reading training sessions, using the music piece from last year’s auditions. Stegner is a former public school teacher who developed excellent choir programs at the schools where he taught.

Etter expressed his appreciation for the choirs and the effort they contributed to the workshop, saying, “I believe the students will approach the auditions with more confidence and that knowing what to expect will make the experience more comfortable for them.”.