After two postponements for inclement weather, singers from high schools in Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties raised their voices together at Elk Lake High School for the 2019 County Chorus Festival.
Several of the schools were closed that day for a snowstorm, but two of those braved the elements and showed up anyway for the shortened rehearsal and the concerts that evening. Elk Lake School District had a two-hour delay, but was able to host the event.
Junior high choral director Ronalyn “Roz” Bingaman is from Waynesboro and has taught for 33 years. She currently directs the middle and high school choruses, high school concert choir, and the select vocal ensemble at the Greencastle-Antrim School District.
She said that a member of the Greencastle community who was on active duty in the Middle East was recently hit by an incendiary device and killed, so she wanted to do a song for their community. She chose the moving “Hero’s Pledge” for that honor.
The junior high concert opened with Alleluia and Non Nobis, Dominae, both traditional sacred choir anthems.
Bingaman paused before “Shoshone Love Song,” to say that she had chosen the sweet, melodic piece because “My husband is actually related to Pocohontas, because his ancestor, his great great great great great great-grandfather, married Pocohontas’ sister.”
The big showstopper for the junior high chorus was the rocking gospel arrangement of “Come Sail Away,” which opened with a solo by Lilly O’Boyle of Montrose, whose soulful, ethereal voice carried the first verse a cappella, then was joined by the group for the rousing, dancing chorus.
Bingaman thanked Dave Cooper on drums and Scott Zimmerman on electric bass. She also noted that Zakary Reynolds of Greencastle-Antrim High School, the accompanist, qualified for PMEA district chorus and also qualified as an accompanist.
The senior high choral director, Carol Madill, took the microphone after the chorus performed “O Sifuni Mungu” with a full lineup of soloists. She thanked Elk Lake for hosting the festival. She said that Elk Lake’s choral director, Tonya Boatman, was a student of hers when she first started teaching at Wyalusing, and was also an accompanist.
“As you can see in the program, we were planning to sing, “Blow Blow, Thou Winter Wind. I cut it. I should never have programmed a song called “Blow, Blow, Thou WInter Wind. Look what happened. Maybe I should have picked “Here Comes the Sun.”‘
The high school chorus did perform “Who is Silvia?” by PDQ Bach, who she called the Weird Al Yankovich of proper choral literature.” The song featured Mykael Harvey’s beatboxing and the irrepressible director’s air guitar skills.
“Tres Cantos Navitos” borrowed one arranger’s use of hand rubbing, finger snapping, and lap slapping to approximate the sounds of a storm in a rain forest in Brazil. She said that the lyrics loosely translated were the guys yelling for their supper, and the girls saying, “Get it yourself.”
The finale was “He Never Failed Me Yet,” a mass choir gospel number with choreography that rocked the auditorium despite the small group of participants.
Theresa Marino, Choral director from Susquehanna Community said, “All of the kids have been wonderful. We had school closings and even Elk Lake had a two-hour delay, so we got started at around 1 p.m. after the kids had lunch. We had to drop one song for the junior high, and it was a beautiful song, “He is my heart’s friend.” But they worked really hard and “Come Sail Away” is sounding really great.”
Junior High Chorus Participants:
BLUE RIDGE: Emmalyn Buchanan, Sophia Bianchi, Madeline Naylor, Alicia Johnson, Makayla Lankford, Madison Makosky, Rheanna Valentine, Jada Palmer, Nathan Garrehy, Micah Edwards, Ethan Ashley, Landen Witbeck, Devon Valentin.
ELK LAKE: Samantha Andrejack, Samantha Brown, Mackenzie Conboy, Sydney Baker, Mitchell Delano, Josey Sobeck, Liberty Zaravich, Kelsey, Lawrence, Angelina Whitaker.
MONTROSE: Liz Donovan, Adaline Moody, Alex Fordham, Elizabeth Green, Miranda Walker, Helen King, Lilly O’Boyle, Jessalyn Robinson, Derick Muller, Troy Hegedus, Jacob Lucas, Ethan Powers.
MOUNTAIN VIEW: Kaylee Hamilton, Chloe Belotti, Hannah Burgess, Russell Milunic, Cody Shay.
SUSQUEHANNA COMMUNITY: Raili Hower, Brianna Bills, Julia Schell, Sarah Day.
TUNKHANNOCK: Raelyn Baker, Kendall Filer, Sophia Mancuso, Victoria Slusark, Lorelai Paxton, Kendra Brosious, Giuliana MacDonald-Scotti, Rosalee Culver, Damion Evans, Nick Algar, Cassidy Appel, Connor Chesner, Nathan Schaeffer, Michael Dickinson, Thomas Nichols, Logan Harvey, Owen Atwalter, Adrien Hermocilla, Marina Tague, Akira Hunting, Camille McKenna, Vanessa Pursell, Syndei Rowles, Kyra Slater, Olivia Myers, Emalyn Westfield.
Senior High Chorus Participants:
BLUE RIDGE: Breanna Derrick, Isabelle Edwards, Kayla Blaisure, Danielle Tierney, Sienna Kowalewski, Logan Mann, Mason Conklin, Tony Dissinger.
ELK LAKE: Caitlyn Brown, Elizabeth Rothwell, Rachel Farnelli, Jaclyn Gesford, Colin Schake, George Sobeck.
MONTROSE: Jonathan Creamer, Noah Smith, Dailynn Eisenbarth, Rylee Maynard, Catherine Strickland, Vanessa Muller, Cassidy Beeman, Dory Page, Abigail Kutalek, Gabrielle Moyer.
MOUNTAIN VIEW: Scarlett Catalfamo, Madison Hunter, Kayla Ward, Hunter Sunbury.
SUSQUEHANNA COMMUNITY: Elizabeth Weibel, Rachel Day, Rhiannon Potter, Kevin Silfee.
TUNKHANNOCK: Haylee Docalavich, Brittney Cooper, Charisma Fell, Grace Richter, Ashley Rusinko, Jade Whitney, Haley Cummings, Alexis Hutchins, Mykael Harvey, Levi Westfield, Nathan Johnson, Christopher Mirabelli, Nathan Stark, Dennis Gilson, Jacob Ezzo, Damien Keally.