D-B varsity choir to perform at inaugural Indianapolis festival March 16

Rick Wagner • Mar 11, 2018 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Dobyns-Bennett High School varsity choir has been chosen to perform at the inaugural Music For All National Choir Festival in Indianapolis on Friday, March 16. 

The 63-member choir, directed by Jenny Rogers with assistance from Patty Denmark, is one of 12 high school choirs selected to perform at the festival, and the next day it will perform with the Music for All National Mass Choir of more than 500. The choir group will give a free public preview performance 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, in the Nancy Pridemore Little Theatre at D-B. 

Rogers said the 12 choirs were selected through blind audition.

“You send tape for the past three years of the state and regional competition,” Rogers said during choir practice Friday, adding that the choices are diverse and represent large and small communities. “I couldn’t believe we got accepted.”

The other choirs are from New York, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, and two each from Kentucky and Ohio. 


“ ‘It Takes a Village.’ That’s one of our songs” and the theme of the solo performance,” senior choir member Abbie Edwards said Friday. She said it also represents the community help and support, monetary and otherwise, for the trip and performance.

She plans to attend Belmont University in Nashville and sing in choir but major in music business. 

The D-B group will perform five songs for judging Friday morning at the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. In addition to the individual performance, the D-B students will perform with the Music for All National Mass Choir, under the direction of Henry Leck and Rollo Dilworth. and be accompanied by the Ball State University Orchestra. at Hilbert Circle Theatre on Saturday afternoon. More than 500 will sing during that event.


Senior member Andrew Greer, who plans to earn an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, said the choir for a month has done after-school rehearsals one day a week plus some during Tribe Time before or after lunch. In addition, the choir has worked with East Tennessee State University choral Director Matthew Potterton, who visited the D-B choir class and had the group come over to ETSU and hear the college choir sing.


Senior choir member Anna Begley said the event marks a milestone for the choir as well as individual members.

 “In college, I plan to study music and pursue music,” Begley said of plans to major in music business at Trevecca University in Nashville.

“It feels pretty reassuring that we were invited to the inaugural Music For America (choir) festival,” Begley said. “It just shows our hard work.”


With the launch of the National Concert Band Festival in 1992, Bands of America rekindled the concert band tradition in America as exemplified by the National Band Contest in 1930. Orchestra was then added to Music For All in 2016 and choir in 2018, Rogers said.

“This is a huge step to add choir to the National Music For All Festival that was originally just for band. I am extremely honored and proud to bring Dobyns-Bennett varsity choir to this prestigious inaugural event. They will go down in history as being one of the first choirs to participate in the Music For All National Festival,” Rogers said.


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