The Augusta Youth Chorale recently returned from a performance in a prestigious venue in the nation’s capital.
The Chorale was the featured choir July 2 for Nation’s Capital Festival of Youth Choirs, held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
The performance, as well as the trip in general, went well for the group, said chorale Director Mark Nabholz.
“It was fantastic,” Nabholz said. “The toughest thing about it was getting all of us on and off the metro at the right time. But I couldn’t have asked for it to go better, the performance was exciting and the whole thing, it was exhausting, but it was well, well worth it.”
Even though a lot of practice went in to preparing for the performance, Nabholz said he felt some nerves before the group went on.
“(There were) the usual butterflies, but the kids were well-prepared and they were on task and focused,” Nabholz said. “So I guess (I felt) similar to how a coach feels right before a football game.”
But once they were finished, Nabholz said he was happy with how everything went.
“(I was) very, very pleased with the way they sang,” Nabholz said. “They were well received by the crowd and I think they were really, really encouraged by the response they got.”
The chorale received an invitation to sing as the featured choir in the festival, even though they had never performed at the festival. The group was chosen because it is a community choir, Nabholz said.
“The conference is sponsored by a group called Youth Cue that helps to encourage and build youth choirs across the country,” Nabholz said. “For the last 50 or 75 years, most youth choirs have been based out of a specific church and (is its) youth choir.
“More and more, they said they’re seeing the trend of community-based (choirs) more than individual church-based (choirs), so they wanted us to come as one of the first examples they found of a teen youth choir that’s community-based.”
Participating in the festival was 27 of the chorale’s 30 members. As the featured choir, they performed 10 songs with the 250-member mass choir and six pieces themselves, which featured sacred, traditional and spiritual music.
While performing in the National Cathedral was Nabholz favorite part, it was also the part that Forrestt Newkirk, 19, of Harlem was looking forward to the most.
Newkirk is a second-year member of the chorale. She said it wasn’t just performing in the Cathedral she was looking forward to, but what the performance provides.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for the group and something I’m looking forward to putting in a resume,” she said.
Nabholz said the trip exceeded his expectations and his favorite part was seeing the group perform.
“Seeing the kids get so excited about music and just the pleasure they took from performing it and doing a good job,” Nabholz said. “That’s really rewarding to see come together.”
The Augusta Youth Chorale will be holding auditions Aug. 5, 12 and 19. For information or to set up an audition, call (706) 306-1374 or go to www.augustayouth chorale.com