The Lost Mountain Middle School Choral Department is recognized as being among the best in the state of Georgia. Our choirs are regularly invited to perform at festivals, workshops, universities, and conferences.
Lost Mountain Middle School opened in 1992. The first choral director at Lost Mountain was Pam Chastain. Pam taught chorus at the Lost Mountain campus until 1998. In 1998, the sixth and seventh graders at Lost Mountain were relocated to a new building that is now Durham Middle School; the eighth graders stayed at the Lost Mountain campus along with all the ninth graders from Harrison High School. The school was renamed West Cobb School for two years. Pam Chastain taught the sixth and seventh graders at Lost Mountain (Durham) and Jay Champion taught the Lost Mountain eighth graders and Harrison ninth graders at West Cobb School until 2000. In the fall of 2000, Lost Mountain became Durham and West Cobb School became Lost Mountain again. Pam Chastain remained at Durham to teach chorus and Jay Champion took over as choral director at Lost Mountain Middle School.
At the time, Lost Mountain Middle School offered one eighth grade chorus class, sixth and seventh graders who wanted to sing were asked to come before school to do so. One year later, seventh grade chorus was offered as a class. In 2002, sixth grade chorus was offered as a class. Since that time, the choral program has grown to over two-hundred members.
In 2001, the Eighth Grade Chorus began performing every year at Disney World in Orlando, FL. Seventh and Eighth Grade Choruses have regularly earned excellent and superior ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluations. Over the years, wonderful choral directors have helped the program grow. Emily Cannon and Kelly Westberry have worked with students and recorded practice tracks for students since 2002.
In 2008, Theresa Bennett joined the choral department as a full-time paraprofessional. Acting as an assistant teacher, tutor, choral administrator, communications director, Music Department Coordinator and more, her talents and knowledge have allowed to choral department to grow and be more effective, and help create an even more special and memorable experience for our students. That same year, Sarah Heagy (now Sarah Rabun) student-taught at Lost Mountain. In addition to assisting with the grade-level choirs, Ms. Rabun directed the Girls Choir exclusively through the 2009-2010 school year.
In January of 2010, the choral department recieved it's greatest honor to date, being selected to perform at the Georgia Music Educators' Association (GMEA) In-Service Conference in Savannah, GA. In the fall of 2010, Kelly Westberry took over as Girls Choir Director and worked with the 7th and 8th grade girls during class two days a week.
Kirsten Benson took over the position in the fall of 2011. Jimmie Howell student-taught in the spring. In January 2012, the Eighth Grade Chorus became the first guest choir to utter a sound at the inaugeral Georgia State University MidSingFest, an invitation-only joint concert by selected middle school choirs in the state of Georgia. The same year, band, chorus and orchestra students benefitted from the scheduling of ensemble-specific general music classes. Whereas in the past general music classes were a mixture of music and non-music students; music students took these classes with their peers. In a general music class with only chorus students, the curriculum was tailored to their skills and talents.
In the fall of 2012, Kirsten Benson joined the choral department as a second choral director. This allows the regular sectional rehearsals in all our choirs, greater preparation for All-State Chorus auditions, Solo and Ensemble, and Honor Chorus events, and assistance with instruction in general music classes. Our chorus students benefitted greatly from her expertise and guidance.
In 2013, Ms. Benson's position was taken from the choral department. With just as many students, we welcomed Ms. Westberry back to LMMS as director of the Girl's Choir. Tammy Newman joined as a part-time instructors. Tori Bethune (now Tori Fallis) student-taught in the 2013-14 spring semester. The choir will begin using the Music Technology Lab for three things: Self-guided Ear-training and Music Theory lessons and exercises using Auralia and Musition, basic piano skills, and self-recording assignments.
After eight years as the chorus parapro, Theresa Bennett accepted a job at Pine Mountain Middle School in 2016. Her time at LMMS will always be considered a time of great acheivement, love, and fellowship for the choral department, the music department, and Lost Mountain Middle School as a whole. Ms. Bennett's contributions are inestimable, pouring her heart and soul in everything she did for everyone.
In the Fall of 2016, Kacy Bishop, a veteran middle school chorus director, joined the chorus department as Assistant Choral Director, a half-time certified teacher position. Ms. Bishop assisted Mr. Champion with 8th and 6th grade choirs every day. Kelly Westberry continued to assist Mr. Champion with 7th grade chorus every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year, in addition to directing the Girls Choir.
In 2017, Ms. Bishop became a full-time teacher at LMMS teaching all chorus classes with Mr. Champion during first hour connections and teaching Drama during second hour connections while Mr. Champion taught Music Technology. Ms. Bishop also took over direction of the Girls Choir. Ms. Bishop and Mr. Champion were aided by Macy Swanson, a student-teacher from Kennesaw State University.
2018 was a very exciting year. Dr. Lenora Nyeste became the principal of LMMS. The Eighth Grade Chorus performed at the GMEA Statewide In-Service Conference in Athens, GA. In January 2019, and both the Seventh and Eighth Grade Choruses gave guest performances at Kennesaw State University with the KSU Advanced Women's Ensemble in March.
In 2019, Ms. Bishop taught 6th and 7th grade chorus with Mr. Champion and Kelly Westberry helped teach the 8th grade chorus. We enjoyed another successful year until March when the pandemic canceled the rest of the year including the Disney Trip for the first time since 2001.
In 2020, Elise Davis-Crowe joined the choral department as a half-time assistant director for 6th and 8th grade classes. Jeremiah Robinson joined us as a student teacher during the fall semester. We started the year completely virtual and moved to hybrid learning in October. To allow for social distancing, chorus classes were taught in the theater and the chorus room was used as a small band room. Sixth grade music enrollment was delayed until January 2021. Instead, all sixth graders were enrolled in Music Appreciation classes for the first semester which were co-taught by the entire music faculty. In January, sixth grade chorus began. Throughout the year, we concentrated on individual music skills using Sight-Reading Factory, Soundtrap, PracticeFirst, and Flipgrid. We collected recordings for virtual choir performances. We performed one live concert in May in the bus port at LMMS. All three grade levels only performed for their own parents. There was no Boys Choir, Girls Choir, or Chamber Chorus that year. There were no field trips at all that year, so Mr. Champion announced plans for a Cobb County School District Middle School Reunion Choir in 2030 for all the 8th grade choral students from all CCSD middle schools in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. If you know anyone in those groups, please have them contact
In 2021, things began to go back to normal. Chorus was taught in the chorus room again. 6th grade students were allowed to enroll in band, chorus, and orchestra at the beginning of the year. Ms. Crowe stayed on as a half-time teacher, teaching two 8th grade piano classes, one 6th grade piano class (during 7th period), and co-teaching one 6th grade chorus class with Mr. Champion. All of our concerts were held at the new Performing Arts Center at Harrison High School. Ms. Crowe directed the girls choir, Mr. Champion directed the boys choir, but there was still no chamber choir. Our 7th and 8th grade choruses made a triumphant return to LGPE by earning straight Excellent ratings from all the judges in performance and sight-reading. We began taking field trips again, but the Disney Trip was cancelled. Instead, our 8th graders enjoyed two day trips: one day at Georgia State University, the Georgia Aquarium, and Hard Rock Café; and another day at Dollywood.