Nearly 250 students perform for 6th Annual DCSD All-County Music Festival
The Darlington County community packed the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center at Coker University recently for the 6th Annual All-County Music Festival. The event, hosted by the Darlington County School District (DCSD), featured 249 talented students from across the district.
“This festival gave us another remarkable performance. The students amaze me with their talent and ability to learn music at a higher level,” said Marisa Johnson, DCSD’s coordinator of Arts and Innovative Programs.
“I commend our music teachers for preparing their students for this event. My hat goes off to each one of them for a job well done.”
The purpose of the All-County Music Festival is to broaden the music education of Darlington County students while providing opportunities for more advanced training in instrumental and vocal music through clinical study and performance.
The festival provides students a chance to receive in-depth music instruction from guest clinicians, who are experts in their chosen music fields.
The students study in a variety of programs such as choral music, band and strings. A music instructor nominated each student based on musical knowledge, showmanship and talent. Participating students came from middle and high schools across the county.
The Darlington High School Gospel Choir, directed by Justin Means, also made a special opening appearance for the festival.
William Bennett, vocal music, and Garrett Griffin, instrumental music, served as guest clinicians.
Bennett is the director of choirs at Cane Bay High School and director of music at Summerville Presbyterian Church.
He holds a Master of Music in Choral and Orchestral Conducting from Louisiana State University. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music – Vocal Performance from the College of Charleston.
He was selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator Award, and he was Cane Bay High’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year. He has also worked as conductor of the University Chorus and adjunct professor of Music at the College of Charleston.
Griffin is currently the director of bands and assistant professor of Music at Coastal Carolina University. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in Music Education with a focus in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida. He earned a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Music Education from East Carolina University. Previously, Griffin worked as the director of bands at West Johnston High School in Benson, N.C., and has 18 years experience in the marching arts.
Carl Sinkler, the director of bands at Darlington Middle School, and Kim Roberts, the choral director at Hartsville Middle School, served as middle school clinicians for the festival.
Roberts and Kathryn Charleston, a music teacher at Thornwell School for the Arts, served as accompanists. Cameron Watkins, director of bands at Hartsville High School, coordinated the event.