Local high-school choirs win big at weekend competitions

PARKERSBURG, W.Va (WTAP)- A weekend of choral competitions for local high schools means a weekend of collecting hardware at the Worldstrides Heritage festivals.

“We went to St. Louis this year and we competed against 19 other vocal ensembles, so there was very stiff competition this year,” explains Parkersburg South choir director Jennifer Ratliff.

“We competed for madrigals, chamber, and the mixed chorus; we came home with gold for all of them,” adds Parkersburg South senior Tori Derenberger.

Parkersburg High School choirs traveled to the big apple for their competition.

“We got first place gold for acapella and we got first place gold for chamber, and then we won the most outstanding choir and we won the sweepstakes award,” notes Emily Vierling, a Parkersburg High School senior.

In addition, Jesse Eaton was awarded a maestro award for his musicianship accompanying the chamber choir on piano for PHS.

With the high standard for music achievement from Parkersburg area schools, each competition is a strive for perfection.

“Success is not a suggestion or an option, it is mandatory that we are successful,” says Joshua Dubs, Parkersburg High School’s new choir director.

The directors attribute their accomplishments to strong programs and hardworking students.

“Both Parkersburg High School and us, we have very strong music programs, even with the band and the choir, we’re both very strong. I think that’s something that isn’t always seen in the community, and I hope that community members know just how much work that these students put into it at both schools,” explains Ratliff.

“They take it and they make the music. They look at the page and interpret what is a mezzo forte to a forte crescendo, what are these other things, and they make it,” mentions Dubs.

And whether they’re a Patriot or a Big Red, the students’ feelings about their group are the same.

“Our group just came in and they meshed instantly. We were very open to one another and out abilities. So it really made this year very special for us coming into it because we were already one big family,” South senior Clay Burrows says.

Parker Olson, a senior at PHS, may have summed it up best.

“It means the world to me to be part of this group. It’s not just that we’re so good musically, it’s just that we’re a family so, to be able to do this year in and year out with the most important people, best feeling in the world.”