McLaurin students make cut for All-State choir

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The quartet of sixth-grade girls at McLaurin Elementary didn’t have any trouble hitting the high notes in an impromptu performance Wednesday of a song that recently earned them state honors.

Amber Baldwin, Stacy Landers, Taylor Rice and Jaleesa Smith were McLaurin’s four nominees to the All-State choir, and all four made the cut.

&uot;I was just jumping up and shrieking when I opened the envelope and all four made it,&uot; choir teacher Mary Turner said. &uot;They are very gifted.&uot;

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The girls performed the song &uot;Path to the Moon,&uot; solo in front of a room of judges. Though they participate in school performances including a Christmas musical and a spring concert and community events like the Christmas tree lighting, the girls admitted the audition was nerve wracking.

&uot;I was afraid,&uot; Smith said. &uot;But I knew seeing Mrs. Turner in there that I could do it.&uot;

Turner said she worked with the girls for several months prior to the audition to prepare the song.

Rice said Turner’s presence also helped get her through the audition.

&uot;I didn’t worry about it, I just remembered all the things Mrs. Turner taught me,&uot; she said.

Turner recommended the four girls for the choir based on their performances in choir since fifth-grade.

&uot;They are committed,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s working with kids like these that really brighten your day. They all held up well under pressure.&uot;

Students nominated by other choir teachers around the state competed for the All-State choir spots.

&uot;I thought, it’ll be an opportunity for me to show people that I can sing,&uot; Baldwin said.

Landers, who has taken some singing lessons, said she sometimes enjoyed performing for crowds.

&uot;I’ve been singing since I was little,&uot; she said.

On April 7 the students will travel to Jackson’s Crown Plaza to perform with the All-State choir.