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NEHS Choirs sing in the holiday season

Debbie Wilson conducts

Beginning with a holiday concert on December 4, the North East High School’s choirs have been in the spotlight. On Saturday, December 6, they performed at both Governor’s Square Mall and on the steps of the County Courthouse downtown prior to the annual Jaycees Christmas Parade.

In full formal attire, the vocalists make a dramatic and stunning appearance: young woman in striking black and white gowns, young men in tuxedos — a far cry from the usual school attire. Under the direction of teacher Debbie Wilson, four groups, beginning choir, concert choir, SSA (a women’s choir) and the Exit I Choir presented a broad selection of traditional Christmas music, including Latin Hymns, and culminating with a vibrant rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Debbie Wilson conducting the North East High School choir.

The choir uses a computerized sound system to provide background music for the vocal work; at the mall, though, they began the performance without it, since all of the electrical outlets in proximity to the group were not working. It was a true case of “the show must go on.”

In the quest for power, one jewelry store flatly refused to let the choir’s sound people “plug in,” while the staff at the new Verizon Wireless wanted to help but couldn’t find a working outlet close enough to be of any help to the group. A desperate inquiry at the new Fowlers Furniture store sent a determined sales and managerial staff on a quest to help, first by locating additional extension cords and then by moving furniture around inside the store to access a working outlet. “Rick,” the store manager, and sales staff Samantha and Mitch earned kudos from the choir and Clarksville Online for their efforts in getting the background music up and running.

NEHS choir members Richard and Bobby, with a working sound system, thanks to the staff at Fowlers Furniture (background)

With power available, two students, Richard and Bobby, who had been pushing the cart and its sound equipment from outlet to outlet in search of power, finally got the green light and the instrumental backing the vocalists wanted.

Shoppers filling the concert corner were enthralled by the harmony and the solo work, and especially with the Hallelujah chorus, a musical work requiring a wide range of strong voices — the piece has not been performed by the NEHS choir in a number of years, until this holiday season.

After donning their formal wear for the indoor concert, the students had a brief respite and time to change into street clothes and their concert T-shirts for the outdoor performance at the courthouse steps. This time the electricity was on, and the group was accompanied by keyboard as well.

Photos by Kelly Anne LaPlante

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