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Honor Choir gives finest concert yet

By Kimmie Balkcom
On February 13, 2013

The First United Methodist Church in downtown Martin was host to this year's UTM Honor Choir Concert. Proud family and friends of choir members gathered this past Saturday afternoon, Feb. 2, as the New Pacer Singers and several other invited high school vocalists performed at the annual concert.
At the concert, the Honor Choir members performed Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem, Op. 48." The 30-minute piece consisted of 7 movements: "Introït et Kyrie," "Offertoire," "Sanctus," "Pie Jesu," "Agnus Dei," "Libera Me" and "In Paradisum."

Accompanying was UTM Accompanist Delana Easley, with solos by UTM Voice Faculty Amy Yeung and Roberto Mancusi.
"The concert went very well," said Timothy Johnson, a junior Music Education major and 3-year member of New Pacer Singers. "This year's concert was definitely one of the best ones we've had."

The New Pacer Singers and the invited high school singers only rehearsed for the concert for a few days prior to the event and met on Friday and Saturday to rehearse. According to New Pacer members, the rehearsals went smoothly, with Johnson describing the invited vocalists as "talented, polite, and a pleasure to work with."
"The high schoolers were well-prepared and seemed to enjoy the Requiem," sophomore Music Education major and first-year New Pacer member Grace Lucas said.

New Pacer Singers conductor, UTM Associate Professor Dr. Mark Simmons, invited specific high schools from around the area to participate in the event.
"The high school students did a great job, came prepared, were committed and had a great work ethic," Simmons said. "This year's concert was the finest artistically. The choir is getting stronger each and every year."

Many of the New Pacer Singers see their experience with Simmons as a positive one, making events like Honor Choir a success and teaching them the skill set they need to become music educators.

"Dr. Simmons is very competent and makes sure he knows his pieces so that he can help us when we need it," said Asha Moody, a junior Vocal Music Education major and 6-year New Pacer member.

"[In conducting Honor Choir], Dr. Simmons was his usual self, using plenty of sarcasm, but he was a much softer person with the high schoolers. He always does a great job motivating us, and he led us to sing beautifully together in only two days. I think he increased the prospective students' interest in joining our choir at UTM a lot. He is an awesome leader for young adults," Lucas said.

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