ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A group of high school choir students received a great surprise on August 25.
The woman’s choir at Gibbs High School’s Pinellas County Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg just found out they’ve been chosen to perform at the prestigious American Choral Directors’ Association’s Southern Conference in North Carolina in February 2022.
Gianna Pinizzotto, a Gibbs High School senior, can’t wait to wow the audience made up of choral directors from the Southern states in the US.
“People are definitely surprised and impressed by what we can do. Usually, you don’t think of high school choirs as being as advanced as we are,” she explained.
That’s why it’s hard to imagine what it was like for the women’s choir at Gibbs High School to have to perform virtually, with each student on their own at home for nearly an entire school year.
“This year the students are really happy to be back and making music with real humans. Last year when they did the virtual recordings, they were recording from home on their own with a click track,” explained teacher Matthew David Clear who heads up PCCA’S choral activities.
The judges analyzed 3 years of performances and over 70 submissions. They chose just 19. Of those, less than half are high school groups. Most are collegiate or professional organizations.
“This is a huge deal,” Clear explained. “There are 6 regions in the American Choral Director’s Association so for us to perform for one of those regions, it is a really big deal for our school. There were only two schools selected from the state of Florida.”
Sarah Nguyen, one of the students in the women’s choir, considers it an honor.
“I think we’re all going to do such a great job because we’ve worked really hard to get where we are,” she said.
After a year and a half of challenges, which have been driving us all apart, students say this is the crescendo they needed.
“It brings a whole one-ness that you can’t experience anywhere else,” Pinizzotto said with a smile.
Next up, students will focus on raising money to pay for the trip, which is expected to cost $17,000 total or about $420 per student.