Students rehearse on Thursday during the PMEA District 2 Chorus Festival at Warren Area High School. The three-day event culminates with a concert on Saturday.

PMEA District 2 Chorus Festival Comes to Warren

January 12, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 2 Chorus Festival hit Warren Area High School on Thursday.

High school students encompassing PMEA’s District 2, including Warren, Crawford, Erie, McKean, Potter, Elk, Cameron, and Mercer counties are in Warren for the three-day event, which concludes with a concert on Saturday at Warren Area High School at 1 p.m.

Students have been working hard leading up to the event, even learning songs in different languages.

“We got our music two months ago, and the three of us have been putting in two to three hours of work each night,” said Warren Area High School student Sydney Johnson, referring to fellow WAHS students Anna Courson and Jadenne Fofana as well. “It’s been a lot of hard work, just trying to figure out our parts.”

And a lot of that hard work has come outside the confines of normal school hours.

“It’s very foreign,” Fofana said. “I’ve never really sung music like this before. It’s a lot of work outside of school.”

Courson, who along with Fofana, Johnson, and the rest of the choir students at WAHS is under the tutelage of Warren Area High School Choral Director Joy McMonigal, referenced the songs in different languages as well, citing what a fun and exciting challenge they are to learn.

“I’ve been doing this for about three weeks and I know they have too,” Courson said. “We have a couple of songs that are in different languages. We normally do maybe one or two songs like that, but not quite like this.”

More than that, it’s the complexity of the music as well that has been different for these students.

“It’s very different from what we’re singing at the Christmas concert, for example,” Johnson said. “It’s much more complex than what we normally do.”

The challenges the district choir presents make them thankful that it’s at their home.

“It’s our first time being at one of these, so we don’t have to stay in a hotel, which is nice,” Courson said. “It’s a little strange having so many people here.”

Added Fofana: “There are a lot of people we haven’t seen before, which is really cool. Seeing everyone here reminds you that it’s all coming together.”

Students rehearse on Thursday during the PMEA District 2 Chorus Festival at Warren Area High School. The three-day event culminates with a concert on Saturday.

And sharing that passion with students their own age from around the region is another aspect they enjoy.

“I’ve already made friends with the girl that is right next to me,” Courson said. “The people around me are super nice. It’s nice to be around people that have the same mindset you do about music, that same passion.”

All of that passion, hard work, and dedication will culminate with Saturday’s concert, under the direction of guest conductor Zachary Covington.

“It’s nice to see everyone’s hard work coming together because they have been working hard just like we have,” Johnson said.

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