The Mississippi Showchoir Contest, hosted by Pearl River Community College, will bring singers and dancers from more than 30 middle, junior and senior high schools to Hattiesburg the first weekend in February.The contest begins the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 3 and will conclude with the awarding of the Grand Prize Saturday night, Feb. 4. The contest will be held in the Thomas Fine Arts Center on the campus of William Carey University in Hattiesburg.Tickets are $6 for Friday night, $6 for Saturday preliminary competition and $6 for final competition or $10 for both Saturday competitions.PRCC started the Mississippi Showchoir Contest in 1987 and hosted it in Poplarville until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed the performance venues. The contest was held in Petal in 2006. After a two-year hiatus, PRCC revived the contest in 2009 with the assistance of William Carey University.Judges will be:Dr. Mark Malone of Hattiesburg, coordinator of music education at Carey and curriculum designer for the Mississippi Arts Commission Mississippi Blues Project. He directed the choirs at PRCC for 21 years.Jonathan Shew of New York City, recently in the off_Broadway production of “The Voca People. He will be creating the role of Bart in the new musical, The Twelve and will star as Will in the Broadway National/International production of American Idiot in August.Semonne Strawbridge of Indianola, chair of the Fine Arts and Health and Physical Education Division at Mississippi Delta Community College, director of the Ambassadors showchoir and MDCC Singers concert choir, and voice instructor.Doran Johnson of Omaha, Neb., choral director at Westside High School in Omaha.Brett Sutherland of Petal, worship pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church in Petal, will judge the soloists.Performances by showchoirs from Class A schools will be from 3 to 6:25 p.m. Friday. Participating showchoirs are Variations, South Forrest Attendance Center; Dixie on Stage, Dixie Attendance Center; One Life, Clinton Christian Academy; Velocity, Purvis Middle School; New Edition, Pearl River Central Middle School; Showtime, Jackson Academy; Center Stage, West Jones Middle School; and Tiger Vibe, Northeast Jones Middle School.Following a dinner break, Class AA schools will take the stage. They include Ambassadors, Clinton Junior High; Showtimers, Petal Middle School; Infusion, South Jones Middle School; Exclusive, Columbia Academy; Fusion, Jackson Prep; and Brio, Brandon Middle School.The Voices, an elite ensemble of 12 PRCC students, will perform while the judges tally the scores. Awards will be presented at 10:30 p.m. Friday.Saturday will be a full day of competition, starting with Class A schools at 7:55 to 10 a.m. They are Extreme, Clinton Christian Academy; Entourage, Stone High School; Orange Sensations, Wayne County High School; Variations, South Forrest Attendance Center; and Innergy, Pisgah High School.Women Division competition will run from 10:15 to 11:55 a.m. Performers include Synergy, Brookwood, Ala., High School; Aggie Accents, Forrest County Agricultural High School; Innovations, Petal High School; and New Edition, South Jones High School.Preliminary awards (first, second and third) place will be presented at 12 p.m.Class AA competition will be from 1 to 3:05 p.m. for Legacy, Sumrall High School; Central Attraction, Pearl River Central High School; Encore, Jackson Academy; Premiers, Columbia Academy; and Imagination, West Jones High School.RiverRoad, PRCC showchoir, will present an exhibition performance at 3:10 p.m.Competition for Class AAA will run from 3:30 to 6:25 p.m. Performers are Centerstage!, Oak Grove High School; Attache, Clinton High School; Gold Horizons, Northeast Jones High School; Soundsations, Petal High School; Company, South Jones High School; and Reveillon, Jackson Prep.The Voices will perform at 6:25 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony for Class AA and AAA at 6:40 p.m.The five showchoirs with the top scores will compete again, beginning at 7:55 p.m. Three finalists in solo competition will also compete.Awards will be presented at 10:40 p.m. Saturday. Showchoir awards will be Grand Champion, first, second, third and fourth runners- up; outstanding visual performance, outstanding vocal performance and outstanding show design. Solo awards will be Grand Champion, first and second runners-up.
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