COVINGTON— The Newton County School System announced that three students were selected to perform in the 2019 All-State Chorus.

Newton County Theme School eighth-grader Gracie Bates performed in the Middle School All-State Chorus while Eastside High School sophomore David Castillo and Alcovy High School sophomore, Jayden Simmons both performed in the High School All-State Chorus.

“Students selected to perform in the All-State Chorus must successfully compete in two rounds of auditions,” explained Joel Singleton, choral director for Eastside High School. “During the audition process, students are required to perform a solo, sight read, and sing from memory, their major, minor, and chromatic scales. If students pass the first audition, they must learn a pre-selected list of songs and sing selected passages for the judges in the second audition.”

“It’s definitely not an easy process,” Singleton added. “David is an outstanding performer and is highly deserving of the honor.”

“We are very proud of Jayden,” said Chantae Pittman, choral director for Alcovy High School. “He is the first Alcovy student in a decade to be selected for this very prestigious chorus. He did a phenomenal job during his auditions and was very excited to perform.”

According to Ciara Edge, music teacher at Newton County Theme School, Gracie Bates worked hard to earn the opportunity to perform at All-State.

“She came in before and after school to practice for the auditions,” said Edge. “She’s a very talented young lady and we’re proud of the fact that she was the only middle school student in the district selected to perform in the All-State Chorus.”

“Students chosen for the All-State Chorus are among the most accomplished vocalists in Georgia,” said Singleton. “It’s an incredible honor to be selected to perform as the students have the unique opportunity to work with and learn from some outstanding musical conductors.”

This year’s guest conductors at All-State Chorus included Joshua Pedde, artistic director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir; Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, conductor of the Viking Chorus and Chapel Choir at St. Olaf College; and Jefferson Johnson, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kentucky.

According to Pittman, in addition to the unique experience, selection to the Georgia All-State Chorus may also lead to scholarship offers for the students.

“I am very proud of Gracie, David, and Jayden,” said Samantha Fuhrey, Superintendent of Newton County Schools. “To have three students in our district chosen to perform in the All-State Chorus is wonderful. They are obviously very talented performers and outstanding representatives of their schools and our school system.”

Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.

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