The sounds of spring: Diocesan schools give choral concert

Bill Brewer Catholic Church, News, Schools, Youth Ministry

Students from Knoxville Catholic High School, St. Joseph School, St. Mary School in Oak Ridge, St. John Neumann School and Sacred Heart School joined voices May 1 to deliver a spring choral concert.

More than 50 students performed for parents, friends and supporters in the commons area at KCHS. The chorus was conducted by KCHS choral director Daniel Varnell and accompanied by Mary Hook.

Knoxville Catholic High School Students sing during the spring choral concert May 1 at KCHS.

Knoxville Catholic High School Students sing during the spring choral concert May 1 at KCHS.

The students performed a variety of works, from Handel and Mozart to Lead Belly and Billy Joel. The performance included a barbershop quartet arrangement by the KCHS Barbershop Harmony Club.

KCHS principal Dickie Sompayrac said it was uplifting to see the students perform and noted how the choral program has expanded from about a half-dozen students in 2005 to the some 60 who take part now under Mr. Varnell.

Mr. Varnell said when he joined the KCHS staff in 2010 there were 20 students in the chorus’

“My goal is to hit 70,” Mr. Varnell said. “They’re great kids. They show up and want to sing, and they do a great job.”

Mr. Varnell is looking forward to the younger students who performed joining him when they attend KCHS, and he noted that spring auditions are where he finds new talent for the program. He recognized the music teachers at the elementary schools that feed KCHS, including Mary Beth Townsend at Sacred Heart, William Lovelace at St. Joseph, Jonathan Leichman at St. John Neumann and Carol Villaverde at St. Mary.

“I have a good corps that will keep it going, but I focus on recruiting with the spring auditions,” he said.