Over 180 students perform for DCSD All-County Festival

PICTURED HERE: 182 \students from the Darlington County School District performed at the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center at Coker University on Thursday, January 3rd. Here they are, seated in the auditorium. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Darlington County community filed into the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center at Coker University on Thursday, Jan. 3, for the Seventh Annual DCSD All County Music Festival. The event, hosted by the Darlington County School District (DCSD), featured 182 talented students from across the district.

It’s been two years since we were able to have the music festival due to COVID-19. I am amazed at how well the students are able to persevere and deliver an awesome concert,” said Marisa Johnson, DCSD’s coordinator of Arts and Innovative Programs. “I always commend our music teachers for preparing their students for this event in spite of their daily instructional activities.”  

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 areas such as choral, music and band. A music instructor nominated each student based on musical knowledge, showmanship and talent. Participating students came from middle and high schools across the county.

Dr. Pingyi Song, vocal music, and Roger Simpson, instrumental music, served as guest clinicians. 

Song is director of Choral Activities for Coker University’s McCall School of Visual and Performing Arts. Song has presented multiple research studies as interest sessions and has served as a clinician and round table panelist for Languages, Cultures and Repertoire at several regional and state American Choral Directors Association conferences.  Song holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, a Master of Music from West Virginia University, a Choral Summer School Certificate from Oxford University, and undergraduate degrees from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and Guangzhou University.

Simpson serves more than 600,000 students and 1,600 arts educators as education associate for the visual and performing arts with the S.C. Department of Education. Primarily, his responsibilities include overseeing arts teaching standards, providing and organizing professional learning opportunities, and managing the Arts Curricular Innovation Grants Program and the Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program. He has been honored by the National Band Association, the S.C. Music Educators Association, School Band and Orchestra Magazine, and twice by his educator colleagues as a Teacher of the Year.

Oscar Wright, the director of bands at Lamar High School, and Johnus Greenlee, the choral director at Darlington Middle School, served as middle school clinicians for the festival. Dr. Inyhe Cho, professor of music at Coker University, served as accompanist. Cameron Watkins, director of bands at Hartsville High School, coordinated the event.

In honor of the late Kim Roberts, who served many years as choral director at Hartsville Middle School, the All County Music Festival’s finale featured a favorite song of her’s, “Homeward Bound,” by Marta Keen. 

Author: Stephan Drew

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