​Highlands Youth Ensemble RETURNED to Carnegie Hall!

​In June, 2016 the Highlands Youth Ensemble returned to Carnegie Hall to perform in TWO concerts. Here is the review for their portion of the June 11 concert:

June 11, 2016

Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) continued their mission of bringing talented young ensembles to Carnegie Hall to give these youngsters the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their talents in one of the world’s premiere concert halls. This concert, entitled Echoes of Deserts and Mountains featured the Highlands Youth Ensemble choir from Tennessee (also Virginia!), the Odem High School Wind Ensemble from Texas, the Colorado Spring Youth Symphony from Colorado, and Wajima Wadaiko Toranosuke from Japan!

The Highlands Youth Ensemble, led by Jane DeLoach Morison, opened the night. They offered five short works, Jubilate Deo by Peter Anglea (b. 1988), O Vos Omnes, an adaption of Lamentations 1:12 (Vulgate) by Pablo Casals (1876-1973), Haec Dies from William Byrd (1540-1623), Psalm 8, as set by Dan Forrest (b. 1978), and Gloria by André Thomas (b. 1952).

The first thing one observed about the Highlands ensemble was that the ratio of women to men was quite high – the young women outnumbered their male counterparts by nearly three to one! Happily, there were very few issues with ensemble balance, and they blended well throughout. It would have been good if the ensemble had projected more sound – this is something common for small ensembles accustomed to singing at much smaller venues. This concern aside, this ensemble was well prepared and gave highly polished performances. Highlights for this listener were the energetic Jubilate Deo and the beautiful Psalm 8 (with violinist Natalie Lugo). After the Gloria (with kudos for soloists Sarah Shipp and Brenna Williams), the large audience gave the singers a standing ovation.

Congratulations to the Highlands Youth Ensemble!

goes on to say, “the new choir will be the same high caliber as the East Tennessee Children’s Choir, and in fact will perform together with ETCC as well as other MECCA choirs.”

Children in grades 4-8 may audition for the Emory Virginia Children’s Choir (EVCC) on January 11, 4:00-5:30 at the Chapel on the campus of E&H. No preparation is necessary for the audition which will include singing familiar songs, pitch and rhythm activities, and learning a short song. Auditions are done in small groups and take about thirty minutes with “first come, first heard.”

“We expect to have singers from not only the Emory community, but also Abingdon, Marion, Meadowview, Chilhowie, Saltville, Damascus, and all other communities for whom Emory is a central location. I am really looking forward to meeting and directing these kids,” says Morison. “Keep your eyes open for our concert schedule, because you will not want to miss seeing and hearing them!”

For more information about the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy, please email: director@meccacademy.org
© 2013 Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy​



​​The Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy (MECCA) is celebrating 30 years since its founding in 1987 as the East Tennessee Children’s Choir.

“We have come a long way since then,” says Artistic Director, Jane DeLoach Morison. “Since 1987 we have added a choir for high school age singers (Highlands Youth Ensemble), one for grades 1-3 (Choristers), and single gender ensembles (Bella Voce and MECCA Men.) The decision to reach out into Southwest Virginia came after two events happened coincidentally: there was a request from a group of parents whose children could not participate in Johnson City, and at the same time a Board member noticed at a Southwest Virginia choral event that there were children who would benefit from MECCA’s offerings. A committee was formed, a location was secured, and this January our region will see the birth of the Emory Virginia Children’s Choir!” The name shows the location of rehearsals for the new group which will be held Thursdays 4:00-5:30 in the Chapel at Emory and Henry College.


ETCC 2016 (1)
HYE ACDA Southern Division 2016
Choristers Fall 2016