Northwest News

Centennial choir to perform at Statehouse

View Slideshow Buy This Photo
(Above) Centennial High School choir teacher Ross Shirley leads the mixed ensemble in practice at the school Thursday, Nov. 29. The students were preparing for their upcoming holiday concert at the Ohio Statehouse. (Below) Centennial mixed ensemble senior members Drew Bailey (left) and Trace Watkins practice for the Dec. 17 concert.

Although the Dec. 17 performance by the Centennial High School choir at the Statehouse will be a repeat of past appearances, director of vocal music Ross Shirley said each time has been special for his young singers.

As of Dec. 4, musical groups have been making weekday appearances at the Statehouse, performing songs of the season at noon in the Museum Gallery on the ground floor.

Centennial High's performance will be the next to last this year.

"We've gone a number of times," said Shirley, in his 15th year at Centennial High.

"I'm going to guess that we've sung there four or five times off and on over the years.

"To me what's sort of neat about the experience is you sing in the crypt of the Statehouse, which for acoustics and sound and everything is really amazing," Shirley said.

"It's really a great place to sing and the sound just really bounces back at you. That's always fun for the kids."

Statehouse officials send out notices each year to schools and organizations throughout Ohio offering an opportunity to apply for the noon holiday concert series, Shirley said.

"There's no guarantee that you'll get to perform there," he said. "It's always been a really positive experience for us.

"It's sort of a nice privilege to be included in that series and be able to perform there at the Capitol."

Dec. 17 will also include a tour of the historic building and lunch for the Centennial High choir, as well as a chance to show Statehouse visitors what the young singers can do.

"I always try to provide a rounded, interesting concert that will not only provide different kinds of music, but give them different skills as musicians," Shirley said.

The concert will include holiday-related material, but won't be limited to that genre of music, the vocal director said.

For the most part, Shirley added, the program will be the same as the one the choir will be performing during the annual school concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.

The instrumental concert will follow a week later, Dec. 19, also at 7 p.m.

"We're very proud of our student musicians," Shirley said.