More than a hundred high school and community college students from Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Pender, New Hanover, Moore, and Harnett Counties recently had the opportunity to be part of a collegiate choral experience. The University of Mount Olive’s All-Star Choir Festival is an annual event that attracts the area’s top music students for a day-long music emersion encounter.
During the group rehearsals, students were introduced to a variety of musical techniques from UMO’s leading music professors.
Jonathon Saeger, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of the UMO Concert Choir, stated, “We are trying to provide an opportunity for smaller school choral groups to be able to experience music on a larger and grander scale than they would be able to on their own,” Saeger said.
At the end of the day, students performed five advanced musical selections in the Hazel Waters Kornegay Auditorium. The songs included “Viva” from a Mozart Opera; “Soon We Will be Done,” which focused on contemporary social issues using a very traditional African American Spiritual; a Renaissance Motet; and an Indian Jog. The group ended the concert with “Fly Away Home.”
Southern Wayne High School student Anna Kate Weeks said, “I really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the All-Star Choir. It was nice to be back in a big choir setting with other students again.”
“This is our first opportunity to perform choral music together since March of 2020,” said Rosewood High School’s Choral Director, Lisa West. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from Professor Saeger. He provides an amazing experience for everyone involved.”
UMO Alumnus Jason Cox, Choral Director for Southern Wayne High School, brought ten students to this year’s event. “The All-Star Choir Festival is one of the few events of its kind in the eastern part of North Caroline,” Cox said. “I have been bringing students since the event’s inception. It is truly a rewarding experience for my students, and provides them with great information about the wonderful opportunities available to them at the University of Mount Olive. The biggest takeaway for my students is getting to work with Professor Saeger and to sing such a varied program of music.”