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Dutchtown chorus to perform at Savannah conference

Special Photo 
Members of the Dutchtown Middle School Advanced Treble Choir took part in a preview performance, held on Jan. 19, for their parents. The singing group is scheduled to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association's Annual In-Service Conference on Thursday.

Special Photo Members of the Dutchtown Middle School Advanced Treble Choir took part in a preview performance, held on Jan. 19, for their parents. The singing group is scheduled to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association's Annual In-Service Conference on Thursday.

Ziara Greene said she is prepared to take the stage. The 14-year-old is scheduled to perform Thursday, with the Dutchtown Middle School Advanced Treble Choir, in front of an audience of music experts.

"I want them to remember the group," said the Dutchtown eighth-grader, one of 61 singers in the all-girl ensemble.

The group was selected to perform at the Georgia Music Educators Association's Annual In-Service Conference on Thursday, at Christ Church Sanctuary, in historic downtown Savannah, Ga.

The upcoming performance will mark the choir's second appearance at the conference in five years. The choir was featured at the 2007 conference, according to Dutchtown Choral Director Craig Robertson.

"I'm more excited, but I am nervous, because I have a solo," said Ziara Greene, an alto in the Treble Choir.

Greene said she has been a member of the choir since sixth-grade, and is entering her last semester in the school's choral program.

"I hate to see this year end," she added. "Mr. Robertson has become one of my favorite teachers at the school. He's taught us so much."

Greene said recognition for the choir could bring attention to music programs that continue to struggle due to funding cuts.

"I think it's a great way to get what we're doing in the music program known," she said. "It's a good way to get other people involved with it."

The Dutchtown Middle School Advanced Treble Choir consists of auditioned seventh- and eighth-grade singers, ages 12 to 14 years old, noted Director Robertson.

"The students have worked very hard to get here, and I'm confident that their hard work will pay off," Robertson said. "When we missed a full week because of the bad weather, I was very concerned, but we are making progress during every rehearsal."

Among the choir's credits are superior ratings and "Best Choir Overall" at the 2009 Music in the Parks Festival, held at Universal Studios in Orlando, he said. The choir received superior ratings at the CaroWinds Music Festival in Charlotte, N.C., in 2010.

The choir director said the singing group also performed during the 2008 holidays at the Georgia Governor's Mansion, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., during the choir's 2010 Spring Trip to the D.C. area. He said the choir performs annually for residents at the Laurel Park Rehabilitation Center in Stockbridge, as well.

On Thursday, the choir will perform for choral directors from across the state, during the annual conference. Robertson said the choir's program will feature eight musical selections, including one original score Stockbridge Middle School Choral Director Sandra Howard, called Chippewa Square, with lyrics Ronda Bowe Kustick, a seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Stockbridge Middle School.

"It is just an honor," added Dutchtown Choral Director Roberston. "I think I'm more nervous than they are. I'm very proud to be the choral director of some of Henry County's most talented students."