Woodgrove Choir Travels to Districts


Written by Lexie Pound

Woodgrove’s five choirs attended district assessments at Potomac Falls High School under the direction of Jessica Morgan on Saturday, March 17th. All choirs, Womens, Mens, Treble, Chamber, and Woodgrove Singers, received a Superior rating.

District assessment is an annual event intended to provide a standard of quality for choir directors in the district. Each choir performs two technically challenging and impressive pieces for three judges who will then offer advice on how to improve their musical ability. The choir then performs a sight-reading piece for a separate judge. Sight reading improves the student’s ability to identify different notes and how they relate to each other in a piece of music. Choirs can receive a “Poor,” “Fair,” “Good,” “Excellent,” or “Superior” rating.

This event is the most pressure the chorus students are put under all year since it’s not only their class grade at stake, but the integrity of their music director and school. Despite this, students only have positive things to say about the event. “I love assessments. It’s stressful, but it’s a cool way to improve our choir and see others. The stress level is a great way for the members to bond.” Says Treble sophomore Melissa Mathews. All other chorus concerts throughout the year are performed for friends and family, and students earn the equivalent of a test grade for attending and being respectful during the duration of the performance. Woodgrove Singers senior Sophie Makarita says that she enjoys the feedback she gets from the assessment judges. The judges notice and comment on little things the director and choir members may not have realized, further expanding the student’s musical comprehension.

According to music supervisor Michael Pierson, Woodgrove is tied with Rockridge for having the strongest choral program in the area. Woodgrove choirs have received the honor of every chorus earning Superior ratings four times since the school opened. Taylor Barnes, a junior member of Treble who moved here from Virginia Beach says, “the assessment is much better here since the judges interacted with and coached us.” This was her first assessment with Woodgrove and third overall. She says she thoroughly enjoys Woodgrove’s choral program.

Despite the strong reputation and confidence, the choir members are not cocky. They are always aware that there’s room for improvement. Senior Gabby Geiger, a member of both Woodgrove Singers and Treble, was confident about Singers, but noticed that Treble needed some last-minute fixes that had her worried. Choral director Jessica Morgan stated “I don’t like to pretend that I’m better than someone else because there are so many amazing teachers and programs here, but I do think that we stand out in many amazing ways, and that’s never a bad thing.”

A week before assessments, a “dress rehearsal” concert was held in the typical fashion for friends and family. This let Mrs. Morgan and the students see what really needed to be touched upon. Before assessments, Chamber senior Genevieve Yeates said, “sometimes the rhythms slow down, and we need more confident entrances.” However, she felt most other problems were worked out at the concert, so they had extra time to refine details. Everyone who went to Districts felt they were well prepared and wouldn’t have changed anything.

“I couldn’t be happier. I’m extremely proud of the groups. We worked really hard and rose to the occasion the last week to clean things,” said Mrs. Morgan