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Ensemble not slowed by absent director

Heavenly chords ranging in style from traditional choral music to more contemporary pieces fill the air as a select group of campus students gather to sing.

Ensemble daily practices their numerous songs in order to attain the perfection that is expected from its director. In spite of 11 new members and only seven veterans, a feeling of optimism encompasses the group.

“This year is going to be a very good year,” Marc Ferguson, ensemble director, said. “Musically, we are farther along than last year. The students are hardworking and serious about what we are doing. They are all giving and willing to work hard.”

Ferguson strives for perfection and his efforts earned him an invitation to conduct a choir in Cyprus from Sept. 26-Oct. 9.

“The general aim of the Cyprus course was to stimulate and broaden enthusiasm for vocal and instrumental music in a relaxed but focused setting,” Ferguson said. “The trip was beneficial for it provides the school with international exposure. Foreign groups traveling to the U.S. will contact our school for performance and host opportunities. The program also gave me recognition on the international level.”

High expectations are held for the group this year based on the legacy left behind from previous years.

“Last year we lost a lot of seniors,” Lindsay Patterson, ’03, said. “At first I was worried about the group, but during the first day of class, I realized that we have a good group this year. Every year has been different, but this year is definitely going to be unlike any other which is very exciting.”

Although music is a main focus of ensemble, the group strives to have a healthy social atmosphere.

“I love being in ensemble,” Brandon Cain, ’06, said. “Everyone in the group is great and I enjoy getting to hang out with friends and get to know other people better.”

The spiritual aspect of ensemble is another major emphasis of the group.

“I can tell the students really have a spiritual commitment this year,” Ferguson said. “They are tuned into the Lord. In years past, the new people usually don’t really speak up about the Lord, but this year they are talking out on their relationship with the Lord. It is awesome to see the new students taking spiritual leadership in the group.”

Although being in the group requires dedication and a commitment to singing, ensemble is not all work. The group will retreat to Phillip Ocheltree’s, ’04, family cabin in Oakhurst for a time of practice, fun and fellowship on Oct. 12-14.

“Retreat is a great way to get to know others better,” Patterson said. “This retreat is especially going to be special. On Sunday night we are all going to wear formal attire, which we have not done before at a retreat. It is going to be a special way for us to bond as a group.”

Ensemble will next sing for the school board on a date in November yet to be announced.

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