County natives sing at inauguration

Published 10:11 am Friday, January 25, 2013

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

As President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term Jan. 21, several county natives were there to lend their voices to the festivities as part of the Lee University Festival Choir.

Spain Park High School graduates Jessica Lamb, Caleb Dick and Keaton Kendrick joined Chelsea High School graduate Landon Jones as part of the choir.

Lamb said in an email interview that members of the Festival Choir were chosen out of the seven choirs already at Lee University based on their talent, grades and recommendations. Out of 350 eligible choir members, about 200 were chosen to perform as part of the Festival Choir.

Lamb, who is a sophomore double majoring in vocal music and theater education, said Lee University was chosen to participate after getting an assist from a friend in high places.

“Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander was on the inauguration committee this year, so he put our name in for consideration,” Lamb said. “He actually came to Lee to announce in person that we’d been chosen — none of us had any idea, so it was really exciting.”

Before the choir could perform, however, they had to get ready. Members received their music before the Christmas break and were charged with practicing throughout the break, Lamb said.

“Once we came back, we only had about  two-and-a-half weeks of rehearsal, but things went very smoothly because of how hard everyone had worked over the holiday,” Lamb said.

Members of the choir arrived in Washington D.C. Jan. 18 and stayed through Inauguration Day, which gave them time for sightseeing. During the inauguration, the Lee choir sang six different pieces, including spiritual, patriotic and jazz selections.

“We really wanted to show the diversity of our choir, as well as what we stand for,” Lamb said.

The experience was “overwhelming,” but unforgettable, Lamb said.

“It was the best experience of my life. I’d been looking forward to it for a long time, and it was even better than I thought it would be,” she said. “It was very overwhelming to be representing my school, my state and my country at a historic event. I know that a lot of the choir members, myself included, became a bit emotional during our last piece, ‘God Bless America.’ It was very moving to be able to sing that song in that venue.”