On Sun., April 25, Leesville’s Capital Pride returned from a weekend in Charleston, SC, where they participated in an International Choral Festival.
While in Charleston, Capital Pride met with choirs from South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Germany and Ontario, Canada.
All choirs combined their collective voices under the directorship of distinguished guest conductor Dr. André J. Thomas, Director of Choral Activities and professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University.
The festival began with an Opening Ceremony for participants at Charleston’s Francis Marion Hotel on Thursday April 22nd. Participating choirs had the opportunity to attend 6 hours of rehearsals in preparation for the Massed Sing Concert led by Thomas on Sat., April 24.
Before the massed Sing Concert, Capital Pride performed at the historical St. Matthews Lutheran Church during a small concert series on Saturday afternoon. Members of the community were invited to visit St. Mathews to listen to the choirs perform “free of charge.”
After one of the rehearsals, Capital Pride performed in Charleston’s Battery Park as bystanders stopped to listen to their repertoire. Rosalee Bailey, junior, described the experience as “magical.”
“Singing in the square was just the perfect thing to do. It was just such a beautiful day, and being from Charleston, it really touched me to be able to share a gift with the community,” said Bailey.
Capital Pride spent the remainder of the day exploring the town. “The time we spent together that weekend was unforgettable,” said Amber Frick, senior. “A lot of us got the chance to bond with people we do not usually talk to in chorus, and I think that is going to help us blend well as an ensemble,” she said.
Working with Thomas was also a rewarding experience for the ensemble. Diane Covington, Choral Director, who has known Thomas for over twenty years, was excited to “introduce her babies” to an “old friend.”
“We were so excited to meet this ‘extraordinary’ man Mrs. Covington was talking about for so long,” said Lauren Smallwood, senior. “He was kind of intimidating at first, but he was absolutely hilarious, so it became a lot less stressful to take direction from him.”
After the final concert, Capital Pride concluded the evening with a reception hosted by Lee Pringle, director the festival. Choirs were invited to eat and mingle with other participating choirs.
Capital Pride members Davis Plunket, Hunter Coultrap, Montana Arnold and Kathryn Lee were popular in the “open mic” entertainment of the evening.
“We were definitely the liveliest choir of the evening,” said Mary Lee Fee, junior. “It was so much fun talking to people from other choirs and the reception really wrapped up a perfect weekend.”