By Bob Weaver

Arnoldsburg Lights On! Choir directed by Norma Randall-Myers

Heartwood in the Hills Dance Troupe (not in order): Megan Achley, Amanda Alborano, Anna Bordonada, Jessica Cosgrove, Ryan Ellison, Niki Liles, Nekka Pinson and Dustin Simons

The "Festival of Voices" brought the talents of children, singing and dancing, to Calhoun Saturday evening at Calhoun Middle/High School. While the event featured children from the 200-voice Appalachian Children's Choir, it was the efforts of the Arnoldsburg Lights On! Children's Choir and the well-known efforts of Heartwood in the Hills, that brought the audience to applause, again and again.

It was a delightful, fun and often moving effort by the young performers. The concert was dedicated to all the children of the world.

Norma Randall-Myers and Dan Cosgrove began the children's choir in January, 2002, under the sponsorship of Lights On!, with its members now numbering 25, ranging from four to fourteen years of age. The goal of the choir is to travel to Ireland in the Spring of 2004.

Eight members of the Heartwood in the Hills dance troupe performed during part of the performance, under the direction of choreographer Jude Binder, co-founder and artistic director of Heartwood.

Directing the music efforts of the Arnoldsburg choir, Norma Randall-Myers, has recently been under the tutelage of Selina Midkiff, artistic director of the Appalachian Children's Choir.

The ACC presented an impressive list of well-delivered musical selections for the enjoyment of the audience.

Group from Appalachian Children's Choir

Randall-Myers directs Arnoldsburg group

The Appalachian Children's Choir is a community-based group centered in Charleston, established in 1990 by Midkiff and Renay Conlin. The 200 singers in grades K through 12 represent over 40 public, private and home school settings. The group performs for local, state and national professional and civic organizations, from Carnegie Hall to to Walt Disney World.

Midkiff, an accomplished performer herself, has studied children's choral music under renown conductors and has been awarded numerous accolades and citations for her work.

Some of the musical pieces ranged from "Froggie Went A-Courtin" and "Can You Hear" to "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and Larry Groce's "Mountain Lullaby."

Arnoldsburg's choir director Norma Randall-Myers "Brings the language through song and dance," said Dan Cosgrove. Cosgrove praised ACC director Midkiff, who invited Calhoun kids to Charleston concerts, giving them tickets, and actually coming to Arnoldsburg to help.

Cosgrove said the group was really appreciative of the efforts of Jude Binder and Heartwood. Binder is a renown woodcarver, artist, performer, playwright, director and teacher. The creation of Heartwood, may be among her greatest acomplishments.

Heartwood embodies the idea that the arts belong to everyone and the artistic gifts in each person deserve to be nurtured. Heartwood has extended their efforts to all children and people, not measured on their ability to pay.

The Arnoldsburg Lights On! Choir includes Shayla Arnold, Emily Brady, Ashley Conley, Jessica Cosgrove, Nathan Cosgrove, Kayla Cottrell, Michelle Hall, Amber Lane, Sarah Lane, Kenzie Lauglin, Jordan Mace, Amber Miller, Lauren Meyer, Jordan Panarello, Nekka Pinson, Sandi Ragland, Karissa Reip, Hunter Roberts, Autumn Smith, Patricia Tawney, Elle Webb, Amber Wilford, Jacob Jett, Kelsey Jett.

Groups come together for performance

Dan Cosgrove helped organize Arnoldsburg Children's Choir