Newsome High School’s choral groups won big at WorldStrides’ Nashville Heritage Festival.

There are several gold mines in Tennessee, but Newsome High School Chorus students didn’t need to do any panning to strike gold. The group of 58 choral students that attended WorldStrides’ annual Nashville Heritage Festival earned enough awards to receive an invitation to the organization’s annual Festival of Gold competition as well as an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Approximately 12 choirs were accepted to perform at the jam-packed, four-day festival, which included a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame; festival performances, where a panel of adjudicators provided written and recorded feedback; clinics; and an awards ceremony and dinner.

Three Newsome choirs attended the event: Chamber, ELITE Show Choir and a festival choir composed of students from several Newsome choirs.

“None of the students had been on a competition trip before because of COVID, and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation leading up to the festival,” said Newsome Choral Director Jeff Bogue. “The students work hard to prepare for it, and it also helps them build self-confidence. There are so many lessons they take from this.”

Awards won included: all three choirs received the Adjudicator’s Award (earning gold ratings) for their high scores, the festival choir placed second in their division, Chamber Choir placed first in their division and earned the Outstanding Choral Group Award (with the highest combined scores of all choirs in the competition) and ELITE placed first in their division. Newsome choirs also won for having the highest combined scores of any choral program. In addition, Newsome student Alex Romero won the Maestro Award for his solo performance.

The festival choir performed two selections: “I Believe” and “He’ll Make A Way.” ELITE performed three selections: “Swing Street” by Barry Manilow, “Blackbird” by The Beatles and “Peroxide Swing” by Michael Bublé. Chamber performed two selections: “Unclouded Day,” composed by Shawn Kirchner, and “The Awakening,” composed by Joseph Martin. Romero’s solo performance was “He’ll Make A Way,” composed by Byron J. Smith.

Bogue was grateful for all the parents, chaperones and accompanists who made the event possible. “Thank you for all the support we receive,” he said.

For more information about Newsome’s choral department, visit

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Michelle Caceres
MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.