By Leila Dycus, Staff Writer

Recently, two Morgan County musicians were have been chosen to attend the Southern Division American Choral Director’s Association Conference. Madison Bryant and Alyssa Benkoski will represent Morgan County at this prestigious conference. The conference includes an honor choir comprised of 125 students from 11 states.

The conference will be held in March 2014. The girls were selected to sing the first soprano part. They are two of five sopranos. According to the girl’s coach, Jared Register, The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) is a nonprofit music-education organization whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research, and teaching.

ACDA strives through arts advocacy to elevate choral music’s position in American society. Register went on to talk about how ACDA membership consists of choral directors who represent more than one million singers across the United States. These members teach choral music in public and private schools, as well as colleges and universities.

The directors conduct all sorts of choral groups. Examples of the groups that these directors lead are: children’s choirs, men’s and women’s choruses, and junior and high school choirs. Register discussed how ACDA offers conferences at the State, Division and National levels.

ACDA conferences offer members clinics, exhibits, and performances to develop their skills and professional knowledge. Alyssa and Madison participated in a blind audition. Choral directors, like Jared Register, submit recordings of their student’s auditions to the American Choral Directors Association. Alyssa and Madison will not only represent Morgan County but Georgia as well.

Representatives from West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana will join the girls to make up the honors choir. According to Register, Alyssa and Madison showed interest in audition for participation in the Junior High Women’s Honor Chorus and were determined to do everything it took to submit a quality-recorded audition.

Register went on to say that the girls completed several prescribed vocal warm up activities with and without piano accompaniment. They were also asked to sing an excerpt from “Hallelujah, Amen” from Handel’s “Judas Maccabeus.” Once the auditions were submitted, judges reviewed each audition. 125 to 150 young were selected. Dr. Jessica Napoles will conduct the Women’s High Choir.

The girls will go through a two-day rehearsal intensive and performance that will take place during the convention. According to Register, there really is something for everyone at the convention. “Madison and Alyssa will experience very polished rehearsals and a performance with some of the best female singers from the south,” said Register.

Register went on to say that it takes a keen ear and a skill set of knowing what the judges are listening for to be chosen for this honor. Many directors spend their entire careers trying to receive the opportunity to sing on the ACDA stage and never get the chance to.

“Morgan County is proud of its student’s accomplishments and all their teacher do to help this generation meet and exceed their expectations,” said Register. The girls have served as an inspiration to vocal coach and sponsor, Jared Register, both in and out of the classroom. Alyssa Benkoski was taught by Register last year.

Alyssa’s eight-grade chorus earned straight superiors at GMEA’s Large Group Performance Evaluation. Benkoski has had a lot of stage time between band, chorus, and drama. Alyssa also participates in Georgia Children’s Choir based out of Athens, Georgia. Madison Bryant is currently an eight grader. She loves all things art including band, chorus and drama.

Last year, the MCMS Production Theater won State 1 Act, which Bryant was a part of. Most recently, Madison found out that that she would play first chair tuba in District Honor Band. “It’s a joy to work alongside such talented colleagues who all want the best for their students,” said Register.

“We have this innate desire to pass the torch and share what we have learn. I am proud of all the students accomplish and it is a true honor to lead and guide this next generation of talented musicians.”