The Region II State Chorus Festival concert begins tonight with a 7 p.m. show at the Ira S. Nippes auditorium in the Ridgway Area High/Middle School.
The choir is under the direction of host director Theresa Morley-Palmer, a music instructor at Ridgway, and Dr. Tony Leach of Penn State University.
"I have some seniors that I've had since fourth grade, around then, and I wanted them to have the opportunity to go to regionals," Morley-Palmer said. "Not all the kids that compete at the district competition can make it to regionals-- if you host then you can have more students from your school go, and they can participate but they can't go on to states.
"It was the perfect year for it and I love Dr. [Tony] Leach from Penn State-- I did a clinic with him and he is just phenomenal. I thought if I ever had a chance to get this man at one of these festivals, I was going to. That was one of the main considerations right there, that I'd be able to get him to help with this."
There are 162 high school students in the Region II State Chorus from 50 different schools.
"The difficulty with so many students is getting all the other schools' paperwork in because they all have their medical forms, then trying to house them all as well," Morley-Palmer said. "Trying to find the host families was difficult-- of all the kids here, we had to house 156 of them between Ridgway, St. Marys, Kersey, Daguscahonda, we were able to find enough places.
"They've come as far as Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter, Elk, Crawford County, then District 3 is south of here, so the schools would be like Kittanning, Redbank, Brookville, Marien Center, many schools just north of Pittsburgh."
The students auditioned to be a part of the Region II State Chorus and 32 of those students will advance to the state musical festival in Lancaster and compete there.
"Just trying to coordinate the food has been difficult-- snack at 10:30 a.m.-- lunch at 1:15 p.m.-- snack at 3:30 p.m.-- dinner at 5 p.m.-- and we've practiced from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. [Thursday]," Morley-Palmer said, "then showtime Friday at 7 p.m."
Pick up a copy of the Friday, March 9, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.