By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County High School (MCHS) students organized the annual One Morgan Concert held this year at Town Park in Downtown Madison.
Every year, a group of senior are selected to run the show, tasked with creating a set list, putting together a band, and promoting the event to the community.
“Since we have so many talented student musicians in Morgan County, we like to give them the opportunity to earn real-life experience with planning, promoting and performing in their very own rock-n-roll show,” explained Ty Manning, an art teacher at MCHS. “When we started nine years ago, it was basically a talent show with different acts, but over the years it has turned into a more collaborative effort where the students work as a team and put a core band together and find as many singers as they can. They decide on what songs, where the show will be held, how much the show will cost, planning practices, etc. It is definitely a learning experience. This year we had one of the smallest groups ever. There were only nine performers, but it was still awesome. The students on stage and off seemed to love it!”
The nine students who took on the One Morgan Concert this year were Casey O’Neal, Emma Hughes, Nick Lewan, Jacob Walls, Berenice Sanchez, Taylor Pickrell, Kayce Kimsey, Carley Henry, and Valarie Williams.
One of the performers, Nick Lewan, learned the bonding experience music provides.
“Music takes friends and turns them into family. That is exactly what ONE MORGAN is about!” said Lewan.
“To me, that is proof we need to keep doing these shows!” said Manning. “Some of the underclassmen involved are already getting the gears turning for making next year’s show bigger and better. Hopefully, experiences like the One Morgan Concert will inspire theses students to keep making music long after they have graduated.”
This year’s set list included hits like “Rolling in the Deep,” “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “Uptown Girl,” “Free Falling,” and “Don’t Stop Believing.”
But the students weren’t the only stars of the show. Some MCHS faculty members took the stage Friday night, too.
“The faculty always does a song or two as well,” said Manning. “This year we did a medley of songs by famous musicians who died in 2016. We lost so many musical icons last year: George Micheal, Leonard Cohen, Glen Frey, David Bowie Merle Haggard, and Prince!” Manning, Lydie Omesiete, a chorus/drama teacher, and John Joseph, Brant Kiepper, Chloe Cooper, Noah Harris, and Principal Miki Edwards all performed during the show. Grayz ‘n Bluez Entertainment provided the lights free of charge for the event.
Manning was proud of the event’s outcome and how it positively affects the students.
“This is the way they express themselves,” said Manning. “It fuels their fire. They love it even more. If you play somewhere–if you do what you’ve been practicing in public and people who like it–it’s addicting. Hopefully, it drives them to go on making music.”