Bearden Singers earn highest possible rating at first state festival appearance in 10 years


Maddux Morse

Bearden Singers celebrate together at Cruze Farm after a performance.

Bearden Singers left the Tennessee State Choral Festival in April with a “Superior” overall score.

Not only is this the first time that Bearden has performed at the State Festival in more than 10 years, but this is the highest possible score to receive at this festival.

This accomplishment came as a surprise to many members of the choir, as they did not originally advance to the State Festival after their performance at JB Lyle Choral Festival, which was a qualifying event for state.

“We were very disappointed because we thought Bearden Singers had worked incredibly hard and we deserved better than judges gave us,” sophomore Cameron Mize said.

The JB Lyle Festival is what the choir had been working towards the whole year, and these results were disheartening for the students and director Mr. Steven Brown.

“It was hard to stay motivated after JB Lyle because that’s what we had worked towards,” said Mr. Brown. “It took coming back from the break, and I got some music I was excited about teaching again.”

After reconsideration from the judging committee, Bearden and several other schools were admitted to the state competition on April 11, giving them two weeks to prepare their performance.

“We worked every day nonstop to prepare,” Mize said. “We had a bunch of guest conductors come in to work with the singers and the choir to give their outside perspective from not hearing us sing every day.”

Senior Anna Sophia Owens performed the descant during the song “Joshua Fit the Battles of Jericho” at the state competition.

“I really could not have asked for a better choir family to be a part of for my senior year,” Owens said. “[I am] incredibly proud of my peers and Mr. Brown.”

With the experience and hard work this year paying off, Bearden Singers are hoping for similar success in the future. Now that he has traveled to the State competition, Mr. Brown is prepared for how to continue leading his choirs to success.

“I now know better the level of engagement and detail-oriented rehearsal that is required for a Superior performance,” Mr. Brown said. “I am also better educated on the level of repertoire we should pursue for festival and just how precise we need to be in the rehearsal process leading up to these events.”

This accomplishment speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication that Mr. Brown and the students have put in this year. 

The Bearden Singers’ students are thankful to Mr. Brown for leading them to this success, and are looking forward to future success with the growth of the Bearden choir program. The spring concert on Tuesday will allow family, friends, and other members of the Bearden community to hear all Bearden choirs – including Bearden Singers – perform their final pieces this year.

“I just want to thank all of my students for helping me foster such a positive educational environment,” Mr. Brown said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching all of them this year.”