D-B varsity choir to perform at inaugural Indianapolis festival March 16

The Dobyns-Bennett High School varsity choir has been chosen to perform at the inaugural Music For All National Choir Festival in Indianapolis on Friday, March 16.

The 63-member choir, directed by Jenny Jones, is one of 12 high school choirs selected to perform at the competition, and the next day it will perform with the Music for All National Mass Choir of more than 500.

Jones said the 12 choirs were selected through blind audition.

“You send tape for the past three years of the state and regional competition,” Jones said during choir practice Friday, adding that the choices are diverse and represent large and small communities. “I couldn’t believe we got accepted.”

The other choirs are from New York, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, and two each from Kentucky and Ohio.

WHAT WILL THE D-B GROUP SING?

“ ‘It Takes a Village.’ That’s one of our songs” and the theme of the competitive performance,” senior choir member Abbie Edwards said Friday. She said it also represents the community help and support, monetary and otherwise, for the trip and competition.

She plans to attend Belmont University in Nashville and sing in choir but major in music business.

The D-B group will perform five songs for judging Friday morning at the St. John Evangelist Cathedral. In addition to the individual performance, the D-B students will perform with the Music for All National Mass Choir, under the direction of Henry Leck, at Hilbert Circle Theatre on Saturday afternoon. The National Mass Choir will be accompanied by the National Band and Orchestra, with more than 500 singing.

HOW DID THE GROUP PREPARE?

Senior member Andrew Greer, who plans to earn an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, said the choir for a month has done after-school rehearsals one day a week plus some during Tribe Time before or after lunch. In addition, the choir has worked with East Tennessee State University choral Director Matthew Potterton, who visited the D-B choir class and had the group come over to ETSU and hear the college choir sing.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON STUDENTS?

Senior choir member Anna Begley said the event marks a milestone for the choir as well as individual members.

“In college, I plan to study music and pursue music,” Begley said of plans to major in music business at Trevecca University in Nashville.

“It feels pretty reassuring that we were invited to the inaugural Music For America (choir) festival,” Begley said. “It just shows our hard work.”

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE EVENT?

With the launch of the National Concert Band Festival in 1992, Bands of America rekindled the concert band tradition in America as exemplified by the National Band Contest in 1930. Orchestra was then added to Music For All in 2013 and choir in 2018, Jones said.

“This is a huge step to add choir to the National Music For All Festival that was originally just for band. I am extremely honored and proud to bring Dobyns-Bennett varsity choir to this prestigious inaugural event. They will go down in history as being one of the first choirs to participate in the Music For All National Festival,” Jones said.