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NEWS RELEASE: Brevard’s “Pride Of The Hills” Earns Sweeptakes At MPA


Brevard High School "Pride Of The Hills" Choir Sweepstakes At MPA, April 2017

Brevard High School Choir, “The Pride of the Hills,” swept their performances with Superior ratings to earn "sweepstakes" recognition at their recent Music Performance Adjudication (MPA) on April 6, 2017, at Brevard College.

Chorus teacher Bart Gilleland noted the consistency of the high marks, calling this year’s performance an immense accomplishment.

“Of three scores we received in concert, the lowest was a 93 (out of 100), and the highest was a 98. Our sight-reading score was a 95. Throughout the half-hour process, our students behaved with professionalism and honor, intangibles learned in practice and performance in the arts.”

The choir participates in MPA annually through the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA). Choirs are given comments and ratings of up to 20 points each in five key areas: Tone/Vocal Production, Intonation, Diction, Technique, and Interpretation.

Brevard High: Emily Sheffield, Doug Grimm, Diana Bodie at Mars Hill Choral Festival, February 2017 One of two pieces that a choir performs must come from a Prescribed Music List (PML), ranging from Class I (easiest) to Class VI (most challenging). Gilleland explained that Brevard consistently chooses repertoire in Class VI.

“This year, we performed the first two of Eric Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs from the PML, and chose Paul Rudoi’s ‘Miniyama Nayo’ as our own choice. In concert, we received no score lower than a 93, vastly improved over last year (87, 89, & 91), and as one of the smaller schools to perform class VI music.”

Brevard “swept” the category, getting straight 1’s (highest achievement) in concert, which combined with a 95 in sight-reading helped them attain the “sweepstakes” this year. A choir can “sweep” at any level of difficulty, and BHS earned the honor while performing the most challenging class of music.

“This is a tremendous source of pride for our student musicians and honors the considerable time and effort they put toward the choral art,” said Gilleland.

Gilleland noted that, with their sweepstakes at MPA, Brevard’s “Pride of the Hills” becomes eligible to submit recordings to be a featured choir during the 2017 NCMEA annual Professional Development Conference in Winston-Salem.

“To get such positive remarks from directors from across the state and both the high school and collegiate level (Greensboro College, Mars Hill University, and 2016 NCMEA Educator of the Year Carol Riggs from Durham Schools) is an incredible endorsement of the work we are doing.

“Transylvania County deserves to be proud of these student musicians, as we have drawn the attention and respect often given to larger and more affluent school districts. I am so proud of my students, and I want our community to be proud of them all, as well.”

While MPA closes out the competition season, several students also earned individual recognition for recent performances.

Bart Gilleland with Candace Britt and Sabra Freeman, All-Carolina 9-10th grade honor choir Gilleland singled out three singers who received Superior (best rating) for solo work on March 31 at the NCMEA Regional Solo/Ensemble competition at East Henderson High School: senior Diana Bodie for Art is Calling for Me, junior Emily Sheffield for Cessate di piagarmi, and sophomore Iris Deyman for Angels Ever Bright and Fair and Nel cor piu non mi sento.

“The work these three ladies did was entirely on their own, or with the assistance of their voice teachers outside of school, and Diana Bodie excelled with a perfect score in the competition.”Additionally, Douglas Grimm was named top Bass I at the NCMEA Honor Choir auditions in October. Two sophomores—Candace Britt and Sabra Freeman—earned seats in the All-Carolina 9th-10th grade honor choir.

Three students—Emily Sheffield, Diana Bodie, Douglas Grimm—made it into the prestigious Mars Hill Honor Choir, Bodie and Grimm again earning perfect audition scores.

“Absolutely I’m proud!” remarked Gilleland about the recognition given to BHS students this year for their achievements.

“I'm also grateful for the opportunities afforded these young people. It is only through the support of Transylvania County Schools and our parents that our students can be high achievers.”

While has been a banner year for BHS Chorus, Gilleland and students aim to set the bar even higher.

“Being ‘The Pride of the Hills’ and helping to shape excellent, well-rounded citizens takes dedication and work: work we will continue to do.”


Brevard High School Chorus, "The Pride of The Hills," at the Paul Porter Center for the Performings Arts at Brevard College, where they earned high honors in this year's MPA adjudication.

Emily Sheffield, Doug Grimm, and Diana Bodie at the Mars Hill Choral Festival in February 2017. Students from over 100 schools auditioned for 300 seats in the prestigious Honors Chorus.

Gilleland sits with Candace Britt and Sabra Freeman at the All-Carolina 9-10th grade honor choir at Wingate University.