CHARLOTTE — Four Charlotte Catholic High School choral students were selected to participate in the 69th annual Mars Hill University Choral Festival Feb. 3-4.
Jonathan Huth, Chelsea Smith, Emma Story and Maura Streppa were selected through auditions held last October. More than 800 students across the state auditioned, and from those auditions, 280 were chosen for the festival choir. Dr. Craig Jessop, the former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, served as the guest conductor and clinician for the two-day festival, which culminated in a concert held Feb. 4.
The Mars Hill University Choral Festival was established in 1949 as an effort to improve choral music in the high schools of western North Carolina. In its early years, the festival was comprised of about 15 schools in the area surrounding Mars Hill University. It has grown to become one of the premiere choral festivals in North Carolina, and is thought to be the longest continuously-running festival of its type in the southeast.
Dottie Tippett, choral director and fine arts chair at the high school, noted that Jessop commented at a choral directors’ luncheon that he doesn’t know of another state that offers such a prestigious festival for high school students. “It’s such an honor for Jonathan, Chelsea, Emma and Maura to be selected,” she said. “We are all very proud of them.”
— Carolyn Kramer Tillman