HARTSVILLE, S.C. – In an inspiring and entertaining evening, more than 240 students from across the Darlington County School District participated in the Fifth Annual All-County Music Festival on Jan. 8. The event filled the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center at Coker College.

“Our talented students produced yet another stellar performance. I believe it was the best yet,” said Marisa Johnson, coordinator of Arts and Innovative Programs. “Their investment and performance prove just how important the arts can be in a child’s life. We also commend our music instructors for their work and dedication in preparing the students.”

The purpose of the All-County Music Festival is to broaden the music education of Darlington County students while providing opportunities for more advanced training in instrumental and vocal music through clinical study and performance. The festival provides students a chance to receive thorough music instruction from guest clinicians, who are experts in their respective music fields.

The students study in a variety of programs such as choral music, band and strings. A music instructor nominated each student based on musical knowledge, showmanship and talent. Participating students came from middle and high schools across the county.

Dr. Timothy Koch, vocal music, and Christopher Graham, instrumental music, served as guest clinicians.

Koch just completed his 18th season as music director and conductor of the Carolina Master Chorale (CMC). During his tenure, he has led the CMC on tours of Italy, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Costa Rica, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Canada and the United States.

Graham is the band director at Waccamaw High School in Georgetown County. Under his direction, the Waccamaw High School band won a superior award in 2018 during the S.C. Band Directors Association State Concert Performance Assessment in Myrtle Beach.

Brendan Johnson, director of bands at Darlington High School, and Caroline Edwards, choral director at Darlington Middle School, served as middle school clinicians for the festival. Kim Roberts, choral director at Hartsville Middle School, and Cole Davis, choral and band director at Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology, served as accompanists. Cameron Watkins, director of bands at Hartsville High School, coordinated the event.

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