Darlington County School District students earn state choir honors

Darlington County School District students earn state choir honors
DCSD Choir HonorsDARLINGTON, S.C. – Seven Darlington County School District students were honored recently with statewide recognition for their vocal and performing talents.

Caleb Hargrove, a fifth grader at Spaulding Elementary School (SES), was named to the 2016 South Carolina Music Educators Association Elementary Honor Choir. He studies under Dawn Dover, the music teacher at SES and Lamar Elementary School.

Six Hartsville High School (HHS) students were named to the 2016 South Carolina Music Educators Association All-State Choir, the highest honor bestowed on high school choral singers. George Chapman, Andrew Lackey, Daniel Thompson, Stone Martin, Archie Torain and Carl Johnson were named to the choir. Dr. Jim Beaumier, the director of choirs at HHS, said it was the most HHS students to be named to the All-State Choir in a single year during his 11 years at the school.

The recognitions highlight the unsung gifts of many district students, according to Marissa Johnson, DCSD Arts and Innovative Programs coordinator.

“We’re just excited,” Johnson said. “We are trying to boost the arts in the Darlington County School District, and we have a lot of untapped talent here. We want to release those talents and give them a stage on which to perform.”

DCSD had more students named to the All-State Choir than the seven surrounding counties combined.

“Each year, it is more and more difficult to get into the choir as there are more students competing for the same number of spots,” Beaumier said.

Hargrove is the first student from DCSD to be named to the S.C. Elementary Honor Choir in recent memory. The straight-A student is president of the Beta Club and an active choir member at SES. He will perform with students from across the state during the South Carolina Music Educators Association Elementary Division’s annual conference in February.

Hargrove was selected to present the clinician and accompanist to the audience during the 2015 Darlington County School District Elementary Honor Choir concert in November. That performance featured 62 fifth graders from district elementary schools.

Three of the HHS students named to the All-State choir - Chapman, Lackey and Thompson -received the distinction for the second year in a row. Chapman earned the leading role in the school-produced, spring musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Trying.” Lackey has also starred in school musicals. Thompson is also a member of the HHS varsity soccer team.

The three remaining All-State honorees - Martin, Torain and Johnson – are enjoying their first such selection. Torain was named a Top 10 bass vocalist statewide, regardless of grade level, Beaumier said. Johnson performs in musicals and was previously a member of the Palmetto Boys Choir. No stranger to the spotlight, Martin appeared on the hit television talent show “X Factor” in 2013. Torain, Martin and Johnson are all members of the A Cappella Club at HHS.

The six All-State Choir members will perform during the South Carolina Music Educators Association’s annual conference in March.

For more information about choral opportunities in the Darlington County School District, please visit www.darlington.k12.sc.us.