The Times West Virginian

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May 17, 2012

FSHS chorus claims top honors

FAIRMONT —  

A bus breaking down on the way home from a competition may be a bump in the road for some schools, but for Fairmont Senior High School chorus members, they were still riding off the excitement from earlier.  
And for very good reason. Last month, 73 FSHS students from the Madrigal Choir, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus and the Barbershop Quartet traveled to Toronto, Canada, to compete in five divisions at the Festivals of Music Competition. 
Altogether, the choirs excelled not only in groups but also individually. Soloist medals were awarded to Kristen Zirkle, John Mark Shaver and Aaron Worth, and Randy Stickley was honored with the special vocalist medal. 
Each group that competed was recognized for its performances. Three of those groups — the Madrigal Choir, the Mixed Choir AA and Barbershop Quartet — received superior ratings, claiming first place in their respective divisions. Also taking first place, the Men’s Choir and Women’s Choir received excellent ratings, something director Janet Zirkle was extremely proud of with such a young group. Many of the members were freshmen in their first year of choir. 
Working with freshmen who have yet to master the techniques made it a challenge, and most schools choose not to include freshmen in competition. But Zirkle wouldn’t have it any other way. 
“To me, I would rather see all the kids be involved and get that experience," Zirkle said. "So, I take kids that are in their first year of choir, and for them to go up there and bring home an excellent rating, as picky as those judges are, that's amazing.”
It didn’t stop there. As a whole, the FSHS chorus was honored with the Overall High School Choir Award, which is given to the highest-scoring ensemble in all categories, and the Esprit de Corps Award. The Esprit de Corps Award is based on exemplary attitude of positive support and outstanding personal behavior.

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