Capital Pride’s Success Leads to International Choral Festival

Rosalee Bailey and Ellyse Hampshire sing. Photo by Elisabeth Jones
Rosalee Bailey and Ellyse Hampshire sing.  Photo by Elisabeth Jones

Rosalee Bailey and Ellyse Hampshire sing. Photo by Elisabeth Jones

For the sixteenth year, Capital Pride has shown its strength in both talent and numbers; Diane Covington’s choral program will participate in an international choral festival that begins on April 22 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Growth

Described by Covington as “growing and advancing,” Capital Pride now has close to one hundred eighty students.

“Sixteen years ago, we had thirty-two students in the vocal music program,” said Covington.

The Vocal Music Program is not just growing in numbers, but in expectation as well.

Covington mentions that “songs that years ago were for Capital Pride, are now for the Beginning Ensemble. Capital Pride sings at a collegiate level, which says a lot about the work ethic of my students.”

 Work Ethic and Dedication

 Capital Pride members are quick to divulge the secret behind their work ethic.

 “Mrs. Covington pushes you to do your best with a huge smile on her face,” said Ellyse Hampshire, junior. “She loves everyone and is so devoted to teaching people to love and appreciate music.”

 Capital Pride consists of forty-five juniors and seniors dedicated to their craft.

“Everyone in Capital Pride really cares about singing as an ensemble. We are all very passionate about what we do together, and you see a lot of commitment,” said Bailey Jones, senior. “People need to understand that there is more to vocal music than just hearing a song and singing it.”

The Music and the Bond

Although music is difficult, you will not see Capital Pride members complaining about learning it.

“I love being responsible with harder music and having less time to learn it. I like challenges,” said Rosalee Bailey, Junior.

When asked about the progress of this year’s Capital Pride, Covington’s face lit up.

“I think it’s going great. The bonding and work ethic are above average; they feel like a unit,” said Covington of her top choral ensemble.

Capital Pride members agree that the bond they share with each other is essential to their success.

“I love knowing that every day in third period I get to go into an environment where everyone is supportive of each other, and I can lean on them whenever I needed anything,” said Hampshire.

After Capital Pride

In October, Jess Lawrence, a freshman at the University of South Carolina and former Capital Pride member, came in to observe this year’s ensemble. In an interview by e-mail, Lawrence reflected on his visit.

“The experience was great. It made me realize how much I missed the bond that Capital Pride has, but at the same time it was great to look and see the future of something I am proud of,” said Lawrence.

Knowing the phenomenal sound that comes from Capital Pride, Lawrence wrote a piece of music called “Agnus Dei” which will be performed by the ensemble.

“You wouldn’t believe how excited I am to hear this song performed,” wrote Lawrence. “I purposely didn’t write in any directions in the music because I wanted to see how Capital Pride could surprise me with something I’m familiar with.”

“I love singing Jess’s song. He is a very talented musician. It is a strange feeling to be singing a complex song a close friend has written, but it’s an honor and a privilege to perform it,” said Bailey.

Musical Experiences

Capital Pride receives many opportunities throughout the year to show off their musical skill. Some activities will be music festivals and contests, singing at a Moravian Church, and visiting the Governor’s mansion.

While these opportunities are exciting for Capital Pride members, nothing quite seems to compare to the trip they will be taking to Charleston, South Carolina on April 22.

In Charleston, Capital Pride will participate in The International Festival of Choirs, led by the esteemed composer, arranger and choral conductor, Dr. Andre Thomas.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to happen for twenty-one years!” said Covington. “I think they’ll be thrilled to work with him.”

Life Experiences

Although Capital Pride members receive many opportunities perform, they agree that Capital Pride offers more than just music education.

“Mrs. Covington really prepared me with how to deal with different people and situations relating to music. I still put what Mrs. Covington taught me into practice every day,” wrote Lawrence. “My favorite part of Capital Pride is everything I didn’t mean to learn.  In Capital Pride, you learn respect, analysis, and camaraderie skills. I’ll take those lessons along with me forever.”

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