The Poland Regional High School singers, front from left, are Brady Milton, Cheyenne Toth, Ayla Dyer, Olivia Snowman, Audrey Fryda, Max Benton and Sienna Toth. Back from left are Kayla Massey, Jack Desrosiers and Julia Edwards, Julia Edwards, the high school choral director.

A small group of Poland Regional High School chorus members joined high school singers from across Maine on March 13 to participate in the first University of Maine Secondary Choral Outreach Experience (S.C.O.R.E.) event, hosted by the university’s School of Performing Arts.

With the help of a grant, the SPA provided the music, T-shirts, lunch and participation at no cost to participating schools, and choral education professor Dr. Rebecca DeWan programmed a concert filled with celebration of community focused primarily on the issue of mental health awareness, according to a news release from Amy Hediger, Regional School Unit 16 assistant superintendent.

The featured major work for mass choir was Aron Accurso’s “You Are Enough: A Mental Health Suite” in three movements: I: “Inside the Storm,” II: “A Thought Storm,” and III: “You Are Enough,” with text by Rachel Griffin. This piece gave students the opportunity to sing a major work and join about 100 voices in concert.

“It was incredibly timely and meaningful to our students, who were well prepared and sang it beautifully,” said Julia Edwards, the high school choral director.

To fill out the program, DeWan requested that participating schools share their own song in line with the theme of the concert. PRHS students decided to share Andrea Ramsey’s “I Lift My Voice” from The Justice Choir Songbook, which they had learned in response to the horrific events in Lewiston last October. Their performance followed an offering from Lewiston High School’s Chamber Choir, who sang Kurt Bestor’s “Prayer of the Children.”

In addition to PRHS and Lewiston High, participating schools included Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Houlton High School, Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, and Washburn District High School.


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