• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS choir to celebrate season at its Dec. 14 concert

WCHS CHOIR STUDENTS, under the direction of Cooper Schrimsher, will sing holiday favorites, pop songs and classical pieces during their winter concert on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Woodford County High School choir students will be joined by a string quartet and a percussion ensemble during its annual winter concert on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. The winter concert will feature a wide array of musical selections being performed by more than 200 students, according to first-year WCHS choir director Cooper Schrimsher. He said classical pieces, pop songs and holiday favorites, including "Jingle Bell Rock," "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "Joy to the World," will be performed during the one-and-a-half-hour concert. "So we have all sorts of songs - something for everyone," said Schrimsher. Admission to the concert at Journey Church is free, but donations will be accepted to support the WCHS choir program and its 130 singers. "We're a performing ensemble. That's what we do," said Schrimsher. "When you're here with me, you're learning to be a performer and you're learning to be a musician." And his students have "risen to the occasion." A native of Huntsville, Ala., Schrimser started taking piano lessons when he was seven years old. He was encouraged to audition for the Alabama All-State Choir as a middle school student, and making music alongside the best singers in the state for three days inspired him to become the best singer - and eventually choir director - that he could be. "It's not always about creating the best concert," explained Schrimsher. "Sometimes it's about creating the best experience, and that's what I want for these students: leave my class with a greater appreciation for the choral arts, for music in general and enjoy being a part of something that's bigger than them." Coming to WCHS was an opportunity for Schrimsher to build upon the musical traditions of a choir program, which already had students involved in a school choir, two handbell choirs and two a cappella groups: the all-girl Honeybees and the co-ed Mellow Jackets. "I want to offer something for everyone," said Schrimsher. "So I do want to increase some of the performing groups" beyond what's currently being offered. "There are so many ensembles that we can have just as long as we have the numbers to support them," added Schrimsher. Four WCHS students, Kevin Lausche, Noah Jones, Sarah Murner and Sydney Owen, auditioned and earned prestigious performance opportunities with the Kentucky All-State Choir in Louisville, from Feb. 8 to 10. Being able to sing alongside the best musicians from across Kentucky excites these students. "I love working with new people," said Kevin. The WCHS sophomore described his new choir director as "a fantastic teacher. He's very energetic. He takes (the music) seriously, but he has lots of fun with it." Schrimsher, 26, earned a full-tuition scholarship to study music composition before eventually transferring to Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music composition and theory. He then went to the University of Kentucky, where he fell in love with Central Kentucky while earning a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in choral conducting.

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