Sophomore Justin Van Scyoc started singing at age two. Some 14 years later, singing has become his passion and is now taking him to the Georgia Music Educator's Association (GMEA) All State Chorus competition in Savannah later this month.
"I can thank my grandfather for getting me into singing," Justin said. "I remember he used to always have Nat King Cole playing in his house, and I just love it."
Thanks to Justin's grandfather passing along his love of music, Justin will sing at the All-State competition in Savannah later this month with a select group of Georgia's finest high school vocalists. This will be no easy feat as the required pieces of music range from English to Latin, Spanish, French and Italian.
With experience singing at Clayton State University's Spivey Hall, Justin is confident that nerves will not get the best of him. He gives most of the credit of his success to Dr. Ben Sims, Middle and Upper School Choir Director, who has spent countless hours helping Justin to improve his vocal talent.
HIES is honored to have two students featured in the 2008 GA Middle School All-State Orchestra. Michelle Nelson, 8th grade violist, and Wick Simmons, 7th grade cellist, will represent HIES at the event in Savannah later this month.
"I was so nervous my legs were shaking," Wick said. "It's all very exciting!"
Michelle and Wick passed a district level audition in the fall and moved on to the state audition held at Westminster on Saturday. Out of the hundreds of students from across the state who auditioned, Wick placed #8 out of the 16 cellists chosen, and Michelle #2 of the 16 violas. This is Wick's first year participating and Michelle's second. Elizabeth Lamback, Middle and Upper School Orchestra Director, leads HIES in wishing much congratulations and kudos to these two very hard-working young musicians!
Middle School Band members Brittany Ketchup, Christin Grulke, Kendall Krebs and Gray Adams represented HIES brilliantly at the first-ever GISA Middle School All-Select Honor Band at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School. Brittany was chosen to be the concertmaster, a most coveted role at this event.
Dr. Scott Stewart, Director of Wind Instruments at Emory University, led students from 22 independent schools from across the state of Georgia. A grueling schedule of master classes, sectional rehearsals and full Wind Symphony rehearsals culminated in a stunning concert on Sunday afternoon.
Ms. Anita Brensinger, Middle and Upper School Band Director, was very proud of what these dedicated students accomplished.
" Iím sure there were many times during the weekend when they doubted whether they could concentrate for even one more minute or play one more note," Ms. Brensinger said, "But they stuck to it, and saw what it takes to become a great musician."
Bravo to all of these incredible students and their dedicated teachers for shining in the local, regional and state spotlights!