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Baltimore high school choir and maestro share excellence and holiday cheer

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The Baltimore City College is breaking rules at a time when many schools are cutting their budgets in areas, including the arts. This high school, dubbed The Castle on the Hill, has the distinction of being one of Maryland's blue ribbon schools. Signs and symbols permeate the building, proclaiming the school's excellence. One sign of excellence is the school's world-renowned choir.

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The new choral director, Marcus D. Smith, allowed this writer to sit in on a rehearsal Tuesday night as the choir was in preparation for their annual Christmas concert this Saturday, December 7, 2013.

Forty students from Grades 9 - 12 make up the Baltimore City College High School choir. The students were very attentive as they diligently rehearsed after school hours until at least 5:00PM. They have been rehearsing for this concert since October.

This concert is symbolic in that it represents the first time the students have performed a holiday concert under the direction of Marcus D. Smith, who has taken over the helm after the retirement of Linda R. Hall, who had served the choir for twenty-six years.

Smith comes to school as an accomplished musician in his own right. He, a Baltimore City College High School alumnus, graduated from Towson State University, having earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. In addition, Smith studied music under the tutelage of Hall.

As this writer observed the progression of the rehearsal, it was so obvious that this is a no-nonsense director who expects and demands the best of his vocal students.Smith directed the choir to sing with energy as well as to focus upon emotion, tones, keys and pronunciation of words.

Another accomplished musician, well-known to the Baltimore area, William Patrick Alston, will be the accompanist at the concert to be held at 6:00PM at Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton Street in Baltimore. The Rev. Martha N. Macgill is the Rector of the church.

Concert-goers will experience a real treat this Saturday as the choir has prepared a variety of songs to commemorate the season. If rehearsal is an indicator, everyone involved is sure to see their works come to fruition.

The school is located at 3220 The Alameda in East Baltimore. The proud principal of the Baltimore City College High School is Cindy Harcum.

For additional information, check out the school's website at www.friendsofbccc.org.

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