Seymour choir to host winter concert

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 11:52 PM

One of the best choral departments in the state will hold its annual holiday concert Friday, with proceeds benefiting a department-sponsored scholarship fund as well as a Haitian orphanage.

The Seymour High School (SHS) Choral Department's 19th annual Winter Concert will kick off at 7 p.m. and will feature the Men's Ensemble, Women's Ensemble, Concert Choir, soloists, duets and others singing holiday classics.

Choral Director Jean Burkhart said the show is going to provide a lot of entertainment, but "we always try to incorporate a good cause within that."

Members of the distinguished choral department have received over $750,000 in scholarship money for vocal music over the past 19 years, and the department boasts five recipients of the Grace Moore Scholarship, the highest scholarship for vocal study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Not to mention the numerous other accolades and honors the department has accrued over the years.

But despite all the awards, Burkhart remains humble about the choir's success.

"If I came in and told my students that the most important thing is to have the highest scores at state ... then I'd be leading them down the wrong path," Burkhart said. She said there's value in working hard and trying to be the best you can be, but "there's got to be more to teaching and singing than just winning trophies. We want to give back to the community and not make it all about us."

The Choral Booster Club will serve a meal prior to the concert at 6 p.m. Burkhart said the club will make pasta and salad, and will serve either bread knots from Willie's or bread from Olive Garden.

Tickets for the meal and concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Concert-only tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the school's front office or at the door on the night of the concert.

A portion of the proceeds from the concert will fund the Ann Montgomery Vocal-Music Scholarship, which the awards annually to a graduating senior who plans to major in vocal music.

Other proceeds will benefit a children's orphanage in Haiti, where senior choir member Bobby Braziel spent the past summer working. Each year, the choir chooses a local organization, group or person to sponsor, "to be significant to others and serve," Burkhart said.

This year, the choir chose to sponsor one of its own members.

"When Bobby came back he said, 'I've been floundering and didn't know what I was supposed to do, but I've found my calling and I really want to do mission work,'" Burkhart said. "So the money will provide a certain amount for the scholarship and for him."

The choral department is also currently selling its Choral Coupon Cards. These $5 cards offer deals at over 25 area restaurants and businesses.

Coupon cards can be purchased from any choral student or at the school's front office, and proceeds will go towards funding the department's spring musical and upgrading equipment. The spring musicals cost on average around $15,000 to produce, and this year's musical will be "Annie."

"I always want people to say, 'Wow, this was the best one yet.' We're always trying to up our game," Burkhart said. "What I love is to have people from outside the community come to watch the shows because they want to get ideas from the work they see us doing. That's always encouraging."


Seymour High School Choral Department Winter Concert

What: Concert and meal provided by the Choral Booster Club

When: 6 p.m. meal, 7 p.m. concert

Where: Seymour High School

Tickets: Meal and concert — $10 adults, $5 students; concert only — $6 adults, $3 students