I wrote this in 2016 after our ladies show choir, The Divas, were finalists in the competition held at Belmont University in Nashville. Tallassee completed its competitive show choir season on Feb. 23 at Auburn High School.
Last weekend, we completed this year’s cycle of show choir competitions. We came across a group from Virginia who, instead of cheering and applauding, employed a “show choir wave” I had not seen before. It was truly unique.
Choral and instrumental music allow a student the opportunity to do something no other discipline can match: he or she can speak from the heart.
As someone who teaches beginner band, it’s hard to see it that way on a daily basis. But as we conclude this year’s round of show choir performances, I am reminded once again students always rise to the occasion and accept the challenge to do their best. Sometimes they may fall short or disappoint you but in general they will try. And our guys and girls did their best the past six weekends.
We go not necessarily to win but to be exposed to other programs. Most schools have a choral program that can trace their origins to elementary music through middle school choir and then a developed high school choir. Here we have not had the ability to have a feeder program for some time, so everything you see and hear at Tallassee High School has begun completely from scratch from ninth grade up. That is nothing short of amazing — in fact it’s a miracle.
It all started when people such as Mr. James Bush and Mr. Ed Watkins planted the seed. Students left this program fired up for music and like Mr. Jerry Cunningham, they came home to teach the next generation.
Tallassee is known for baseball, especially to outsiders. We are also known for the Mount Vernon Mills, the Hotel Talisi and the Fitzpatrick Bridge. People may have heard of our Babe Ruth and Dixie Youth programs or maybe our Tiger Sharks swimmers. They may know about the writings of Jack Solomon or Ronald Brantley. They may have passed through here to attend a battle reenactment. Certainly they have heard of Miss Vicki Baker and her legendary baton and dance studio which has also brought us a couple of others around town. They probably know about Studio B, the Pointed Toe and Dance Generation. Maybe they bought a car from Ben Atkinson or James Parker or another dealership in town or have heard we are the only municipality to have two Super Foods-branded stores.
There are so many things that make our town special. But even someone who hates music or is anti-band and choir must admit more good will has come our way because of the fine folks in the choir and band at Tallassee than just about anything else.
People know who we are because of the Long Blue Line and later the award-winning Pride of Tallassee. They attend the Capital City Classic sponsored by THS. They come to our Jazz Fest. People also see our various choral and band groups in concert competition or at honor bands and choirs or at solo and ensemble festivals. Our music program is represented very well across the region.
What I have always admired about the high school choral program is we seek out performance locations not because we want to go beat somebody but because we want to get better. Our Divas and New Image girls and Gold Edition guys performed so beautifully this year. And as we approach the end of the competitive season, I wanted those of you who read this column to know Tallassee hasn’t just been lucky, we’ve been blessed. Some of the finest people I have ever had the privilege to meet somehow interact with our program, either as the student, the directors, the parents or alumni of the program. Thank you for all you do to support the Tallassee Music Department and please know that the students and teachers involved are doing all they can to represent our community well. A “show choir wave” to all involved!