Front Page Article, Thursday March 5, 2020 – Reprinted from the LaGrange Daily News
Choral Arts Festival to present more than 200 singers
BY JENNA ODEN DAILY NEWS
The Choral Society of West Georgia, in collaboration with LaGrange College, is gearing up for the annual Choral Arts Festival. “This is our fifth year presenting this,” said Artistic Director Betty Biggs. “The concert was developed in order to secure a grant from the Georgia Council of Arts. The event was developed around hosting area choirs in the West Georgia and South Alabama areas with a guest director.” This year’s guest director is La-Grange College’s new Choral Director, Dr. Samuel Miller.
“We generally invite six to eight choirs,” Biggs said. “We will have roughly 200 voices. We try to span the singers ages, as far as very young singers, developing singers, collegiate singers and as well as the more mature choirs.” Two Troup County middle schools will participate in the festival this year, including the Callaway Middle School Chorus and the Long Cane Middle School Chorus. Additionally, another young choir, Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus and Prima Voce, will perform.
“Olivia McWaters is one of the assistant directors of the Voices of the Valley,” Biggs said. “She now has started a new choir called Prima Voce. Olivia is from LaGrange and a graduate of LaGrange High School. After all these years, she is coming back.” According to Biggs, Voices of the Valley has been a part of the choral festival since its inception five years ago.
Other choirs performing include Young Singers of West Georgia High School Ensemble, Carroll County Community Choir, The Choral Society of West Georgia and LaGrange College Chamber Choir.
“We are excited about Dr. Sam Miller,” Biggs said. “It is his first year here in LaGrange.” Biggs said Miller was chosen as the guest director because they wanted a way to introduce him to the community as the newest director at LaGrange College. “We are also very excited about the brand-new chorus singing with us this year from the Carroll County area,” Biggs said. “They are an 80-voice choir.”
The Festival Choral Celebration will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at Callaway Auditorium on LaGrange College’s campus. Admission is free, and it is open to the public. All choirs will perform two ensembles, and then as the grand finale all choirs will perform three pieces together on stage. Biggs said the choirs have been practicing for the show since music was sent out after Christmas. “I hope the community comes out to this because we have superb and excellent music traditions in this area,” Biggs said. “We are bringing in choirs from the area that people are not familiar with and giving them a chance to perform in this area.” Biggs said she is proud that since creating the program, the choral society has been able to keep the momentum going for five years. “I always wonder on that first time when everyone gets together, will it all come to fruition?” Biggs said. “When they all open their mouths and all 205 or so are singing, it is remarkable. It’s a great way to put singers in touch with other singers of all ages.”