And they came a-caroling|’The greatest talent pool we’ve ever had’

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 8, 2008

Seven performances took top honors Saturday night at the 4th Annual V105.5 Christmas Caroling Contest, an evening of local talent that featured a mix of styles and traditions.

The winners emerged from a field of 65 entries, with selections ranging from gospel to country to pop to contemporary Christian.

Both the Warren Central High School Madrigals and the Warren Central Junior High choir won first place in their divisions. The other group choral winners were the Sherman Avenue Elementary 3rd Grade Choir and the Vicksburg Intermediate Singsations.

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Soloists who took home first-place awards were Glentrice Johnson, Ethan Sumrall and Marquis Goodwin.

“This was the greatest talent pool we’ve ever had,” said Mark Jones, general manager of V105.5 WVBG, which has sponsored the event all four years.

Jones was master of ceremonies for the event in the Vicksburg Convention Center. He was assisted by Miss Mississippi Christine Kozlowski.

Winning groups took home $1,000, with runners up awarded $500. In the solo categories, the top prize was $200, and runners-up were each given $100.

Nancy Robertson, Warren Central High School’s Madrigal choral group director, said she was overwhelmed by the award.

“We knew we had some stiff competition,” Robertson said. “Our hats are off to them.”

Junior Sara Jacks, in her second year singing with the Madrigals, was excited about the win. “Everybody worked really hard to have a good time, not just to win.”

The group, dressed in Renaissance costumes, sang a cappella, performing a medley of traditional Christmas songs that included “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Carol of the Bells.”

Twelve-year-old Marquis Goodwin, who also won last year, brought many in the crowd of more than 800 to its feet with his performance of “Lamb of God.” His competition, 5-year-old Rylee Kate Jones, runner-up in the Young Soloist division, was also a crowd-pleaser with her performance of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

The Vicksburg Intermediate Singsations performed two spirited songs, “On the Roof” and “Blizen Boogie,” both featuring plenty of moves, claps and kicks. The young choir received a huge ovation with whistles and whoops.

Ethan Sumrall, the winner in the teen soloist division, accompanied himself on piano off-stage and was not visible to most of the crowd. His  contemporary selection, “Christmas Shoes,” told of a little boy who wants to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes because “I want her to look beautiful if Momma meets Jesus tonight.”

While the judges tallied their scores, Jones and Kozlowski presented a special recognition award to Mike and Melanie Roach, owners of McDonald’s of Vicksburg for their charitable work in the community.

“One of the main reasons we do this is to bring the entire community together and give them a chance to hear different kinds of music,” Jones said. He hosted similar events in Missouri and Louisiana for ten years before putting the show on in Vicksburg.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at