The West Plains High School Concert Choir recently added another major accomplishment to its already-impressive résumé, which represents a very long and rich history of excellence.
On March 31, the choir performed in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the WorldStrides National Heritage Festival, and competed against 22 choirs representing 15 schools from 11 states, spanning the nation from New York to California.
West Plains’ singers didn’t just win — they won everything.
Placing first in every category the Zizzer choirs competed in was not enough for West Plains, as the local young vocalists swept the competition by winning the Sweepstakes Award. The Sweepstakes Award is the prize given to the best performing choir overall of the festival, spanning all categories — and all school size classifications.
In addition, the concert and chamber choirs also earned the Adjudicator’s Award, which is awarded to one gold-scoring choir in each category based on the personal preferences of the judges rather than strictly looking at the scoring sheets.
Designated a 2A school, West Plains is a “small” school compared to most of the others in the competition.
At the helm of the West Plains Concert Choir for more than 50 years, Kelly Dame has guided the choir to amazing heights of success.
Dame’s choirs have won numerous awards, performed for district, state and national conventions, and toured internationally, including travels to the United Kingdom, Austria, Hungary and Romania, to name a few. The Plains Singers have been featured in two PBS documentaries, “Behind the Iron Curtain” and “A Song for China.” The mountain of trophies Dame has won are too many to mention in the small space allotted here.
Jordan Hall, whose women’s chorus earned first place in its category, has been assistant director for four years and has already proven himself to be a tremendous asset to the program.
Because of its success, the concert choir was also invited to attend the Heritage Gold Festival held at Carnegie Hall in New York.
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