Lineup announced for 1st MCS Summer Concert Series

The Monroe County Schools Fine Arts Center today has announced an all-star line-up for its first ever Summer Concert Series. During June, July and August, the Fine Arts Center will host an American Idol winner, a Fourth of July band concert, a contemporary Christian artist, and one of the premier Beatles tribute bands.  

Performers slated to appear during the Summer Series are:

  • American Idol Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks who will bring his Southern soul, R&B, country and blues sounds to Forsyth on Friday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m..
  • The Middle Georgia Concert Band, a 50-member group made up of Central Georgia amateur and professional musicians, which will perform a program of patriotic music on Sunday, July 2 at 7 p.m..
  • Grammy-winning Contemporary Christian artist Jason Crabb who will be in concert on Friday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m.
  • And, The Return, one of the top Beatles tribute bands, which will perform a Back to School Concert on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 7:30 p.m..

The Summer Concert Series will provide local and area music patrons the chance to see professional artists during the months the Monroe County Schools Student Fine Arts are on break.  The 1,200-seat Fine Arts Center has previously hosted two professional performers -- country artist John Berry in February and Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone in March.

Tickets for most events will be available through the Fine Arts Center’s online ticketing site, Ticket Alternative.  The ticketing site can be accessed through the new Monroe County Fine Arts Center website ( or at

The first tickets to go on sale, for Taylor Hicks’s June 30 show, will be available on Friday, May 19, at 10 a.m. Seats will be $30 for the front section of the main floor, and $25 for all other floor seats.  The balcony seating will be opened as ticket demand merits.

General admission seating for the Middle Georgia Concert Band’s July 2 Fourth of July program will be $5 each and will be sold at the door beginning 90 minutes before the show.

Ticket sales for Jason Crabb and The Return will be announced soon.

About the performers:

TAYLOR HICKS -- A native of Birmingham, Ala., Taylor Hicks combines a unique mix of Southern soul, R&B, country and blues in his music.  He received 64 million viewer votes to win Season 5 of American Idol.  Since then, he has appeared as Teen Angel in the Broadway production of “Grease,” has been a resident performer at the Bally’s and Paris Resorts in Las Vegas, and performed at the closing session of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. His deput single, “Do I Make You Proud” entered at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, Pop 100 and Single Sales Chart, and he was named People magazine’s “Hottest Bachelor of the Year.”  For more, visit

MIDDLE GEORGIA CONCERT BAND -- Organized in the fall of 1992, the Middle Georgia Concert Band provides opportunities for amateur musicians with high school or college music backgrounds to continue participating in music performance, rehearsals and fellowship with other musicians.  The band usually numbers around 50 which includes student, staff, and alumni members from Monroe County Schools as well as other Forsyth and Monroe County residents. For more information, visit

JASON CRABB -- Rising to prominence singing with his siblings as The Crabb Family, Jason Crabb released his first album in 2009 and it earned him his first Grammy award.  Since, he has collected 21 Dove Awards including Artist, Male Vocalist and Song of the Year honors.  The native of Beaver Dam, Kentucky,  is honored in his community by having the road leading to its new amphitheater named after him -- “Jason Crabb Drive.”  While he is known for his contemporary Christian music, Crabb says he “never wanted to be pigeon-holed” in one genre. “I just wanted to make music,” he says.   For more information, visit

THE RETURN -- The Return got its start in 1995 when four young friends from the Atlanta area got together to play their favorite Beatles songs “just for fun.” Originally named “The Roaches,” they were asked by a friend to perform in front of an audience in a one-time gig and “the rest is history.”  Over time, they polished their act by striving for a high level of authenticity to recreate the Beatles’ early sixties concert experiences. In the past decade, they have performed across the United States and overseas, including at Abbey Road Studios in London, and headlining the 40th anniversary celebration of the Beatles visit to Tokyo with a tour of Japan.  For more information, visit



Mary Persons High School Quartet Finishes Fourth in Georgia AAAA

Mary Persons High School Quartet Finishes Fourth in Georgia AAAAJeffrey Dunbar, Jackson Harvey, Clay Moore, and Beau Watson represented Mary Persons in the men’s quartet state finals of the Georgia High School Association Literary Competition on March 19, 2017. The Mary Persons quartet took fourth place from among the 31 schools that comprise the AAAA division.

Charles Hernandez, choral director at Mary Persons since 2011, said of the quartet, “I’m so proud. The accomplishments of these young people are putting the Mary Person’s fine arts on the map.”

Dunbar, the group’s bass, is the son of Jeff Dunbar of Forsyth. Harvey, the baritone, is the son of Scott and Shannon Gordon of Forsyth. First tenor, Moore, is the son of Ray and Kim Moore. Glenn and Sandy Watson are the parents of the group’s second tenor, Beau.

MP’s Jackson Harvey is State Champion

MP’s Jackson Harvey is State ChampionMary Persons senior Jackson Harvey is Georgia’s 2017 AAAA State Champion Men’s Soloist. He won the honor March 18, 2017 at the Georgia High School Association State Literary Competition held in Buford, Georgia. Harvey’s renditions of Ernest Chausson’s Le Charme and Arm, Arm Ye Brave! by George Frederick Handel earned perfect scores for musical knowledge, vocal technique and musicianship from both college vocal instructor judges.

Harvey, ranked as one of the top eight high school classical singers in the United States last spring, has auditioned for The Juilliard School in New York City, the world’s most prestigious conservatory for the arts. When the live audition before the entire Juilliard voice faculty was complete, Harvey was one of only 13 vocalists from around the world invited for a call-back. Harvey awaits the final admission decision by early April.

Charles Hernandez, choral director of Mary Persons for the last five years, said, “I am so proud of Jackson. I know his work ethic behind the scenes, and he is so deserving.”

Harvey concluded, “Of all the singing awards I’ve won, the state literary championship means the most to me. I was very proud to represent my school, Forsyth and Monroe County.”

Mary Persons Women’s Chorus takes Grand Championship in Orlando

Fifty-six members of the Mary Persons Choral Program traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete in the Orlandofest, hosted by Universal Studios on March 16-19, 2017.

All competing Mary Persons choirs earned superior ratings. Additionally, the Mary Persons Women’s Choir won their division, scoring highest among all competing choirs. The Mary Persons Mixed Choir took second place in the same division. Also, the Mary Persons Women’s Choir was declared Grand Champions of the entire Choral competition.

“These young people had a wonderful opportunity to practice important life skills like following direction, getting along with others, managing nerves when performing, and working with a group to accomplish superior performance. Musicianship performing complex choral literature is not a simple skill. Forsyth-Monroe should be very proud of these awesome accomplishments,” said Shannon Gordon, president of TEMPO, the choral booster club for 2016-2017.

Charles Hernandez, Mary Persons Choral Director, said, “At Mary Persons, we talk often about the young people being ChaMPs. The Women’s choir made that literally come true this weekend. It is a huge honor for Forsyth-Monroe and Mary Persons for these young ladies to have earned the title Orlandofest Grand Champion when competing against choirs from across the country.”

Mary Persons’ Literary Team shines at Region Meet

Congratulations to the Mary Persons High School Literary Team, coordinator and coach Mr. Hernandez, coaches Ms. Brady and Ms. Spires and accompanist Ms. Baker for taking 3rd Place at the 2-AAAA Literary Region Competition on Saturday, March 3rd. We are pleased to share with you the individual results of our Region Literary Competition.

  • Region Champions in Quartet: Jeff Dunbar, Jackson Harvey, Clay
  • Moore and Beau Watson
  • Region Champion in Boy’s Solo: Jackson Harvey
  • 2nd place in Humorous Interpretation: Naomi Sanders
  • 2nd place in Rhetorical Essay: Addie Sparks
  • 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation: Sydney Everett
  • 3rd place in Girl’s Solo: Stephanie Nix
  • 3rd place in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking: Taylor Jordan
  • 4th place in Personal Essay: Emily Pollock
  • 4th place in Argumentative Essay: Kendal Bunn
  • 4th place in Trio: Sunny DeVane, Kennedy Finch and Stephanie Nix
  • 4th place in Duo Interpretation: Timothy Clements and Torri Harrisx

Special thanks to accompanying team members Aleah Davis, Charles Dean, Jess Rodriquez, Katherine Samuelson, Michael Shannon, Liam Spence and Leia Williams.

Quartet and Boy’s Solo Region Champions will advance to the Georgia High School Association AAAA State Literary Competition that will be held at Buford High School on Saturday, March 18th.

Congratulations to the 2017 Literary Team for a terrific season