Short named to prestigious national honor choir

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Elizabethton High School junior Gabe Short is one of only 200 students nationwide to be selected to the NAfME 2022 National High School Honor Choir.

Short will join other members of the National Association for Music Education honor choir at a conference in January which will prepare the students to release a video nationwide in March to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month.

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The honor is the first for an Elizabethton High School student and his audition was made possible due to his earning third chair as a sophomore in the 2021 All-State Choir.

“The opportunity came up and Mrs. Gouge asked if I wanted to try out for nationals,” said Short. “I was like ‘all they could say was no.’ I was the first to audition for the National Honor Choir with NAfME and I really didn’t think that I was going to make it because it was a really difficult spiritual song.”

Short learned last week that he had made the national choir and was ecstatic.

“I have been singing since I was a baby,” he said. “My mom and dad’s sides of the family are very big in music. My uncle was a Church of God hymn writer in a lot of the redback Hymnals. Singing is one of my favorite things to do.”

Short, who is a bass singer, loves Southern Gospel Music,  Musical Theater, Opera, Jazz, and added “I am just all over the place when it comes to music”. 

Short gave a lot of credit to his choral director Debbie Gouge.

“She has helped me with the technique of singing – opera, musical theater, musical theory, when you learn classical in choral singing it really sets you up for any other singing you want to do.”

He has also trained at Blair Academy for the Arts in Johnson City with Mason VanHorn.

Gouge said preparation is what sets Short apart when it comes to singing in the EHS choral department.

“He has the flexibility to switch from style to style easily,” Gouge said. “I think the bottom line is that he enjoys what he is doing which is a sign of a good musician or teacher. You have to love and have a passion for your subject area and love the people you share it with. If any of that is off, quit doing it.”

Short added that Gouge treats her students as professionals.

“That is the only way that you will get a good sound out of a choir,” Short said. “Dr. Chaney at Lee taught me that during state choir. He said you gave up three days of your life to come here to Cleveland and if you are giving up that time – be professional.”

Short is the son of Lisa Johnson-Short and Jamie Short and the grandson of Myra Maxberry. He plans to pursue a degree in either finance or music education.