Hancock County show choirs delight audience at state finals



Sumner Memorial High School’s Portia Gatcomb (from left), Ashley Church, Susie Johnson and Mia Richardson sing and dance their hearts out as part of their school’s joyous “Mama Mia” production last weekend at the Maine All State Vocal Jazz & Show Choir Competition in Fairfield.
ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY LETITIA BALDWIN

FAIRFIELD — The Mount Desert Island High School Show Choir’s evocative, exquisitely performed production “Requiem,” featuring a finely conducted pit band, captured first place and a gold medal, Saturday in Division I of Maine’s 2019 Maine All State Vocal Jazz & Show Choir Competition held March 29-30 at Lawrence High School.

Organized by the state’s century-old Maine Music Educators Association, the state competition represented for students, music teachers, choreographers and parent groups at least a half-year of rehearsals and regional competitions culminating at last weekend’s state finals in Fairfield.

Broken down into Divisions I and II, depending on the school’s size, the finals involved 19 qualifying middle schools from the Waterville area to Caribou. From Hancock County, Conners-Emerson, Ellsworth Middle, Mountain View, Peninsula and Trenton competed.

Hancock County also was represented by Ellsworth, Mount Desert Island and Sumner Memorial high schools’ vocal jazz and show choirs.

Competing in Division II, Ellsworth High garnered a bronze rating for its circus extravaganza inspired by “The Greatest Showman.” The production transported the audience to the big top with its glittery gymnasts and trapeze artists, some of whom actually flew high, and other colorful characters and their rousing renditions of tunes like “Come Alive.”

EHS soloist Kaitlin McCullough was singled out, receiving an Outstanding Musicianship Award for her rendition of “Never Enough.” Sounding like a songbird, her voice soared and filled the auditorium.

Sumner High’s “Mamma Mia!” swept the crowd away to the Greek isles and landed an honorable mention.

Division II’s first place and a gold medal went to Orono High School’s moving, poignant production “Now That I’m Older.”

Holding enlarged childhood photos of themselves, the students reflected on their pivotal experiences such as coming out as gay and overcoming an eating disorder.

Performing in Division I, EHS’s Jazz Choir shined with soloist Lauren Billings received an Outstanding Musicianship Award for her solo. The same day, Billings also donned her circus costume and delivered a lovely solo in EHS’s “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Performing Friday afternoon, Hancock County’s middle schools also distinguished themselves with lively, engaging performances. Conners-Emerson, Ellsworth Middle, Peninsula, Pemetic and Trenton all received silver ratings.

EEMS’s Caleb Leathers won an Outstanding Musicianship Award for his sweet rendition of “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” in his school’s enchanting Muppets medley.

From Peninsula School, Ainsley Alley and Joshua Orellana-Kramer wowed the judges with their solos, both winning Outstanding Musicianship Awards. To see more photos, go to ellsworthamerican.smugmug.com/The-Ellsworth-American/School.

Letitia Baldwin

Letitia Baldwin

Arts Editor at The Ellsworth American
In addition to editing the Arts & Leisure section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden and Get Ready for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Ill, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Isles. [email protected]
Letitia Baldwin

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