For over 80 years the Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir has captivated audiences and won praise across the Mountain State. Now, that praise is nation wide as the Big Red Choir claims perfect scores at the Heritage Festival's National Choral Competition.
"We've actually been working for months and months," explains Pam McClain, the Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir Director. "Many times during the week, many hours, lots of hard work, lots of dedication. Obviously, that hard work and dedication paid off in the equivalency of reward and honor and we did receive gold/superior ratings for each group."
P.H.S. presented four choirs at the competition: the a capella choir (made up of 91 members), the chamber choir (comprised of the elite 26 out of the a cappella choir), the women's and men's ensemble choirs. Their amazing performance at the festival could mean a return trip to the greatest stage in America - New York's Carnegie Hall.
"It is a great honor and we have preformed at Carnegie Hall. Two years ago we were able to do that," McClain says with a smile. "We know what a thrill that is and we know what a thrill it is to be recognized as the only choir to be asked to do so."
Auditions are already underway at P.H.S for the 2012-2013 choir because 41 of the 91 member choir will be graduating. One departing senior says his experience in the choir helped make him feel at home.
"My time in A Capella has been really a wonderful experience," says Eric Cunningham. "It's given me so much. Something to belong to. And it's just wonderful being a part of so many wonderful musicians and under Mrs. McClain's great leadership. It's been amazing."
Amazing years that both McClain and Cunningham say wouldn't be possible without, who else, their fans!
"I just want to thank Mrs. McClain for her leadership and I want to thank the community for showing up and supporting us, always," Cunningham says.
"The good news is that we have always been well supported by the community. The Parkersburg area loves fine arts and we are a part of that. And they support us 100%," McClain adds.
It's that support that helps keep the Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir on top.