Everett to be guest conductor at choral festival

Everett to be guest conductor at choral festival

Feb. 26, 2016

Dr. Beth Everett had a dream.

When she came to LaGrange College in 2014 as Director of Choral Activities, one of her ambitions was to organize a choral festival.

“I quickly realized that choral music is alive and well in West Georgia,” she said. “There are so many talented singers here.”

West Georgia Choral SocietySo she was thrilled when she was invited to be the guest conductor at Saturday’s inaugural West Georgia Choral Festival.

“I was so honored when Bettie Biggs, artistic director of the Choral Society of West Georgia, asked me to be involved,” she said. “It was also an honor for our choral program.”

Rehearsals will be Saturday morning at West Side, new home of the college’s music department. A free concert will be presented at 4 p.m. in Callaway Auditorium.

Dr. Everett said the college’s Chamber Choir will open the performance with two multicultural numbers.

“The first, ‘Tshotsholoza! (Go Forward)’ is a South African call-and-response song used in the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated movie ‘Invictus,’” she said. “It also served as South Africa’s ‘battle’ call at the 2010 World Cup. The second piece is the Norwegian folk tune ‘Bruremarsj’ (‘Wedding March.’)”

This weekend’s showcase will feature eight choral societies with more than 300 singers, and is hosted by the Choral Society of West Georgia in honor of the group’s 10th anniversary, said Biggs.

“The community will see what a wealth of talent we have here and how fortunate we are in this community to not only have this talent, but the personnel and facilities to host such an exciting event.”

The choirs are made up of singers from all walks of life, she said. Vocalists range in age from 8 to 80 from the Choral Society of West Georgia, the Sons of Lafayette, LaGrange College Choir, Point University Choir and choral ensembles from Troup County, Callaway and LaGrange high schools, as well as the Voices of the Valley Children’s Choir from Columbus Preparatory School in Columbus.

According to Biggs, this is the first volunteer choral festival of its kind in West Georgia, and she hopes it will become an annual event.

Dr. Everett said she is excited to be involved in the project.

“I have the honor and privilege to conduct the mass choir of all the participants,” she said. “We will be presenting three selections that are sure to leave the audience inspired, encouraged and perhaps even on their feet by the end.”

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