March 5, 2003
Maryville College students Laura Atkinson and Amanda Peavyhouse were selected to perform in the Women’s Honor Chorus during concerts held at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
This year’s convention, attended by approximately 6,000 ACDA members, was held Feb. 12-15 in various locations in New York, N.Y. The Women’s Honor Chorus performed at the well-known Riverside Church.
“ It was phenomenal to sing with 200 other women,” Atkinson said. “There was this presence in the room – it wasn’t just a room filled with 200 female singers, it was a room filled with musical souls.”
In October of 2002, Atkinson and Peavyhouse each auditioned for the chorus by submitting to a selection committee audiotapes of musical scales and a prepared song. More than 1,200 audition tapes were submitted by individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Atkinson and Peavyhouse were two of 200 young women chosen for the chorus; Peavyhouse was one of 18 soloists.
Maryville College Choral Director Stacey Murphy Wilner said that selection to the women’s choir was “a high honor.”
“Over the years, I have had a number of students audition, but none has ever made one of the national choirs before,” she said.
While in New York, Atkinson and Peavyhouse rehearsed up to nine hours a day for the two, 45-minute concerts that the chorus performed.
“ It was tough,” said Peavyhouse, “but that is the way professional musicians work. They expected us to have learned the music on our own. When we met as a group, we were expected to know it.”
“ Every woman was there because she had worked hard to get there and because she loved music enough to put forth that effort,” said Atkinson.
Atkinson, Peavyhouse, Wilner and Maryville College student Tiffany Sasser (student member of ACDA) all represented the College at the convention.
Founded in 1959, the American Choral Directors Association is a nonprofit music-education organization for music professionals whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research and teaching.
Atkinson is a music education major at the College. From Louisville, Ky., she is the daughter of John and Melissa Atkinson. She is a 2001 graduate from Atherton High School.
Peavyhouse is a senior at the College and a vocal performance major. She is the daughter of Jimmy and Betty Peavyhouse of Clarkrange, Tenn. She is a 1998 graduate of Clarkrange High School.
Both students participate in the Maryville College Concert Choir, the Maryville College Community Choir and the small musical ensemble “Off-Kilter.”
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state‘s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for its academic rigor and its focus on the liberal arts, Maryville is where students come to stretch their minds, stretch themselves and learn how to make a difference in the world. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester was 1,168.