Local fifth-graders selected for W.Va. All-State Chorus

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BUCKHANNON — Thirteen fifth-graders from five Upshur County elementary schools are singing as part of a 275-strong West Virginia All-State Chorus next week.

The students, who represent French Creek, Tennerton, Rock Cave, Buckhannon Academy and Union elementary schools, have been rehearsing with their teachers and also with the other students once a week since January.

Their music teachers — Robin Samuels and Brandon Williams — will be going down for the yearly West Virginia Music Educators Conference, where they will take classes March 2-4.

They will also get to hear their students perform in the ensemble Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in the municipal auditorium in Charleston. Tickets are $5 at the door.

The students auditioned to be in the ensemble and will be performing nine selections ranging from English and Latin to Chinese and even traditional folk songs — more advanced tunes than what they might cover in their normal school choirs.

Williams said, “It also gets their feet wet to be a part of a performance-heavy ensemble.”

This is the first year that Williams and Samuels decided to have their students rehearse together — and while it creates some logistical concerns for the students to navigate to centrally-located Buckhannon Academy after school, it has been working very well, they added.

Samuels said she was looking forward to being in the audience and watching the students sing with the ensemble.

“I’m so proud of them,” she said.

Williams agreed.

“Parts of the music are challenging to learn,” he said. “So seeing 270-plus kids coming together and knock it out of the park is a real experience.”

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