Northwest News

Centennial choir to perform in Statehouse

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Centennial High School junior Emily Carpenter (left), sophomore Jocelyn Robertson (center) and senior Jasmine Smith rehearse for their Christmas concerts.

For the second year in a row, the Centennial High School Choir has been invited to perform in the Crypt at the Ohio Statehouse as part of an ongoing series of holiday concerts.

The Centennial High students, under the direction of Ross Shirley, will be performing at noon Monday, Dec. 16.

"We've gone many times, so it's definitely something we look forward to," said Shirley, now in his 16th year at the school.

Last year's performance, which fell one day later, went well, Shirley added.

"It's a great place to sing, just really a great place to sing," he said.

Free lunchtime concerts from Ohio musical groups will take place weekdays through Dec. 20, according to a Statehouse announcement.

The musical performances are scheduled each weekday at noon in the Crypt of the Ohio Statehouse.

The concerts are free and open to the public."

A performance at the Statehouse doesn't add much to the seasonal burden of his students, Shirley said, because they already are in the midst of preparing for winter concerts.

Those performances are scheduled at the high school today, Thursday, Dec. 12; Monday, Dec. 16, at the Statehouse; and Tuesday, Dec. 17, with the choral and string ensembles at the Knightsbridge Retirement Center.

"That's always kind of our group of holiday concerts," Shirley said.

"We spent a lot of (time in the) fall getting ready for this concert season."

All the performances will feature a variety of traditional holiday pieces along with some non-seasonal works and some multicultural songs, the teacher noted.

"We have a nice balance of cultures and holiday music and styles as well, so that we have a real variety in our program," Shirley said.

"To me it's important to try to experience a variety of songs and styles and cultures and times."

Singing songs of that range provides students with a more rounded musical experience, Shirley said.

Some students in the choir were on hand for last year's Statehouse appearance, and Shirley said 40 to 50 of the singers will be experiencing it for the first time this year.

"It's a really nice group of kids with a lot of different experiences they bring to what we do, and I like that," Shirley said. "Our goal is to build our program."