During its first appearance in the national competition, the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir earned second place in the American Prize in Choral Performance competition in the college and university division in October. The contest recognized the College choir as one of nine finalists for the award. Conductor Dr. Nancy Menk said her group set a precedent for an all-women’s choir placing near the top at the competition. “We were the first women’s choir to place in the top three,” Menk said. “That was an honor.” Menk is a professor of music, director of choral activities and the Mary Lou Judd Leighton Chair in Music at the College. She also serves as conductor and music director of the South Bend Chamber Singers, which also competed for the American Prize and placed among the top eight finalists in the community division. “I am proud of both choirs,” she said. Founded in 2009, the American Prize honors outstanding choirs that submit recordings to be reviewed. There are six categories: professional chorus, college or university level chorus, community or faith-based chorus, secondary school chorus, youth chorus and children’s chorus. The Women’s Choir, currently comprised of approximately 45 students, has performed across the country as well as internationally and recorded four CDs. For the competition, the Women’s Choir submitted a CD entitled “Anima mea,” Latin for “My soul.” The CD includes a number of relatively current, 20th– and 21st-century songs. Senior Ashley Stopczynski credited much of the group’s success to Menk. “Dr. Menk ensures that we get a well-rounded choral experience by including upbeat, slower and different styles of music,” said Stopczynski. Stopczynski said its “Anima mea” CD is a testament to the choir’s talent, an excellent tool for sharing that talent with others. “Dr. Menk makes it a point to give a good example of women’s choral music to younger singers,” Stopczynski said. Menk and Stopczynski both said being an all-female choir did not give them any kind of edge in this competition. “A good choir is a good choir,” Menk said. Stopczynski agreed, but she said the group is still unique. “I actually don’t think women choirs get enough recognition for the beauty of the sound,” she said. “However, being the only female group to win is an amazing experience. … It’s wonderful to be recognized for the work we put into our music.”
While our neighbor to the northeast, South Carolina, was left reeling from October’s floods, parts of Georgia were left with less rain than normal. Rainfall amounts varied dramatically across the Southeast. For instance, Charleston, South Carolina, received 18.91 inches during October, while four hours away Savannah, Georgia, received just one-tenth of that. The difference is remarkable and shows how localized the rain from the South Carolina flood event was. Georgia luckily avoided most of the problems associated with the flooding in South Carolina. The heaviest rain in Georgia from this event occurred in the northeastern mountains. Local stream flooding occurred in some locations, but was much less than the extensive flooding that occurred in South Carolina. Farmers were generally thankful for the drier conditions they saw last month. Wet conditions helped ease drought conditions in parts of the state but also caused boll rot in some cotton plants and caused hay to rot in the fields. The rest of the month was quite dry, which allowed farmers to harvest cotton and peanuts and cure hay for the winter. At the end of the month, farmers were waiting for rain to return, so they could start planting winter cover crops and small grains. The highest monthly total precipitation recorded by National Weather Service stations was 6.43 inches in Rome, Georgia — 2.57 inches above normal — and the lowest was in Albany, Georgia, at 0.65 inches — 1.94 inches below normal. Atlanta received 2.55 inches, 0.86 inches below normal; Athens, Georgia, received 5 inches, 1.45 inches above normal; Columbus, Georgia, received 1.07 inches, 1.51 inches below normal; Macon, Georgia, received 1.7 inches, 1.09 inches below normal; Savannah, Georgia, received 1.78 inches, 1.91 inches below normal; Augusta, Georgia, received 4.62 inches, 1.35 inches above normal; Alma, Georgia, received 3.26 inches, 0.23 inches above normal; and Valdosta, Georgia, received 1.73 inches, 1.47 inches below normal. Two daily rainfall records were set in October. Alma received 2.51 inches on Oct. 1, breaking the old record of 0.58 inches set in 1989. Brunswick, Georgia, received 3.38 inches on the same date, surpassing the old record of 0.76 inches set in 1957. The highest single-day rainfall amounts recorded by Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations were recorded on Oct. 4 in conjunction with the South Carolina flood event. The highest rainfall amount in the state was 5.2 inches, observed northeast of Hartwell, Georgia, in Hart County on Oct. 4, followed by 5.14 inches received west of Dahlonega, Georgia, in Lumpkin County and 4.91 inches received near Sylvania, Georgia, in Screven County. The highest monthly total rainfall was 14.07 inches, observed northeast of Dillard, Georgia, in Lumpkin County. Only two isolated wind damage reports were made in October, both on the first day of the month, but there were a few unofficial reports of wind damage on Oct. 7 in Athens where wind combined with water-logged soil to topple a handful of trees — damaging houses and causing isolated power outages. Temperatures across the state were close to average compared to the western half of the country, which had well-above-normal temperatures. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 64.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.8 degrees above normal; in Athens, 62.2 F, 0.8 degrees below normal; in Columbus, 66.5 F, 0 degrees below normal; in Macon, 64.3 F, 0.6 degrees below normal; in Savannah, 68.2 F, 0.3 degrees above normal; in Brunswick, 70.2 F, 0 degrees below normal; in Alma, 68.3 F, 0.1 degrees below normal; in Augusta, 64 F, 0.4 degrees below normal; in Albany, 69 F, 0.9 degrees above normal; in Rome, 61.8 F, 0.6 degrees above normal; and in Valdosta, 70.2 F, 1.5 degrees above normal. In general, the warmest temperatures were in areas where the precipitation was lowest. One daily temperature record was broken in October. Alma reported a low of 39 F on Oct. 19, breaking the old record of 40 F, set in 2009. Macon also tied a record high of 88 F on Oct. 16, matching the observation from 1971. The outlook for November shows an increased chance of warmer and wetter-than-usual conditions across the state, which should aid in the removal of drought throughout the state. For more information, visit the Climate and Agriculture in the South East (CASE) blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/climate/ or visit our new Web page at gaclimate.org. Please feel free to email your weather and climate impacts on agriculture to share on the blog to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAGAN: Overreactions to strong spring training starts As USA Today and NBCSN Chicago tell the tale, she stood to toast the more than 100 attendees and then uttered something that is headed to a T-shirt near you:”Playoffs or die, bitches!”It was a galvanizing moment for players who have big ideas but are still getting to know each other.”She evoked a little rally cry for us, expecting us to do well, and I think we share in her sentiment,” Sox manager Rick Renteria told reporters, per NBCSN Chicago.Keuchel told reporters the address delievered by his mom, Teresa, was the result of her not paying up on bets in the past. He also admitted to having a hand in “writing” it.”She doesn’t like public speaking by any means, so that was the gist of it for her to get up there and keep it light hearted. Just say, ‘Hey, hope everyone had a great time. Good luck on the season,’ and then I had her say the b-word,” Keuchel said, per NBCSN Chicago.Mom’s speech and especially Keuchel’s generosity (the dinner bill reportedly was around $25,000) are already bringing the team together. “That’s how you build camaraderie. That’s how you build chemistry with a team is doing stuff together, especially with a family. I feel like that’s a huge component. Your wives get to meet the other wives. To be able to build those relationships, especially this early before the season starts, it goes a long way,” reliever Steve Cishek said, per NBCSN Chicago.Keuchel is clear that he wants the White Sox’s season to continue into October, similar to his experiences with the Astros and Braves, his two MLB stops before Chicago. Keuchel (three years, $55.5 million) was one of the White Sox’s largest offseason purchases as the front office moved to supplement a cost-effective young core following the club’s 72-89 finish in 2019.”I can’t wait to get back to the playoffs again, and doing it with this team, man, is it going to be special,” he told USA Today. If the White Sox make the playoffs this season, then Dallas Keuchel’s mother should receive a cash award.She had the line of spring training — and put into words what her son and his new teammates are feeling — at a gathering the pitcher organized (and paid for) last month in Arizona.