At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 353 young men from McKinney ISD’s choir programs filled the stage of the McKinney Boyd High School Auditorium to form one voice—the voice of McKinney Men in Concert.
The second annual event brought together the men’s choirs from Cockrill, Dowell, Evans, Faubion and Scott Johnson middle schools with their slightly more experienced counterparts from McKinney Boyd, McKinney High and McKinney North high schools to perform a variety of choral selections in front of a packed house.
“There’s something about having men singing together. It’s just a powerful thing,” guest conductor and clinician Billy Talley, who conducted the combined chorus, said. “It’s a great opportunity for the middle school guys to hear and sing with the high school guys, to know where they’re going in the process and hopefully plant some seeds for the future, to stay in choir and keep singing.”
The concert was preceded by weeks of campus preparation and a full day together at Boyd, where guest conductors Ryan Forkner and Talley led the young men through clinics and group rehearsals. At 2 p.m., all 353 of the singers gathered on stage for a combined rehearsal of “Keep Your Lamps,” one final chance to get everyone in place and fine-tune the performance.
Communicating with and conducting such a large group requires an experienced approach. “Three-hundred fifty men—that’s a lot of guys,” Talley said. “We had 15 or 20 minutes to get everything together, so all of the work was done by the directors prior to [today], teaching the music and helping them learn their parts. So, it’s just an automatic thing. You just try to get out of their way.”
And when you do, amazing things happen.
“The McKinney Men in Concert on Wednesday was incredible,” Roy Renzenbrink, McKinney ISD director of fine arts said. “It celebrated the male voice and demonstrated how versatile and unique it truly is. It made me very proud to see all those young men ages 11 to 18 demonstrating such excellence. I was also very impressed and proud of the job their teachers did in preparing them for this great concert.”
Story and photo courtesy of Shane Mauldin