Singing with the area’s supreme

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 19, 2004

In the hours leading up to tryouts for the Virginia Music Educators Association All-District IV chorus Saturday afternoon at Nansemond River High, which hosted the event for the first time, Josh Tarwater had quite the simple diet for warming up.

&uot;No sugar, bread, milk, cheese or crackers,&uot; said the junior Warrior, one of over 560 students trying out, over 100 of whom were from Suffolk. &uot;They can clog up your vocal cords. The only things I’ve had to eat today have been water and salad – with no dressing or croutons.&uot;

Except for his guzzling of vinegar.

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&uot;It helps clear the phlegm out of your throat,&uot; he said.

Students from Suffolk’s four high schools, as well as from Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Isle of Wight tried out for the chorus, which begins performing in February. Last year, the team put on several shows at Western Branch High.

Students warmed up with a set of four four-second drills. They’d inhale, hold their breath, exhale in sound, and rest. Then they went to a classroom for individual drills. Their vocal range was measured with a pitch drill, and they performed a few strands of Handel’s &uot;Where’er you walk,&uot; which none of them had ever seen before.

Intoning a brand new tune was the toughest part of the test, according to River senior Michael Huffington.

&uot;We practice singing,&uot; he said, &uot;but we don’t get to see the song until the day we perform.&uot;

Fellow Warrior Cat Rothing was making the tryout trip for the first time.

&uot;I’ve liked singing my whole life,&uot; said the freshman. &uot;I practiced in chorus class (at John Yeates Middle) for the past few years.&uot;

As his tryout ended, a relieved Tarwater hurried out of the classroom and headed to the hospitality area.

&uot;I was a lot better than last year,&uot; he said, dumping sugar into a cup of coffee. &uot;I wasn’t as nervous. Now I can have sugar again!&uot;

The following Suffolk students were named to the area’s top singing squad:

King’s Fork:

Robert Fly

William Fly

Heather Ginn

James Lego

Rachel Matthews

Alternates (KFHS):

Chessida Leonard

Regis Sullivan


Kendall Brown

Terrez Byrd

Emily Creasy

Gwen Goforth

Victor Norfleet

Raechelle Polk

James Riddick

Mark Simmons

Katie Starling

Ashley Williams

Shannon Wright

Alternates (LHS):

Julia Skeeter

Alicia Rodgers

Nansemond River:

Joseph Bell

Shannon Conroy

Billy Eason

Caitlin Foster

Michael Heffington

Philip Henderson

Brittaney James

Keith Josey

Julia Locklear

Nathan Rodgers

Robert Scott

Alonzo Small

Cierra Smith

Missy Stevenson

Josh Tarwater

Julia Thompson

Brittany Walls

NR Alternates:

Brittany Bradshaw

Brandon Uzzle

Kimberly Boone

Matt Jones

Jessica Maione



Devin Arnold

Lauren Brown

Krista Bryant

Sarah Butler

Sabrina Haque

Kristin Nuckles

Erik Wright