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Overbrook High School Takes 3rd Place in B101’s Annual Christmas Choir Contest

By Anne Forline

(special to CNBNews.Net)

Each year, B101 holds its annual Christmas Choir Contest where local Philadelphia-area schools vie for a shot at hearing their song played on the radio while hoping to score some big prizes.

This year’s first place winner was Mullica Hill’s Clearview Regional High School, who took home the $5,000 prize for their song “Joy to the World” and they also won the opportunity to perform with the Philly Pops.

But finishing in an impressive third place out of a field of 250 entrants were the Overtones from Overbrook High School in Pine Hill with “English Carol Melody.”  For placing third, the Overtones were awarded a $1,000 prize.

Director of Choirs, Art McKenzie said they entered last year’s contest, but they weren’t selected to make it to the semi-finals.  In early November, he decided to try again. 

For this year’s entry, Mr. McKenzie chose “English Carol Melody” because he felt it had “a little bit of everything.”  Since the school doesn’t have its own recording studio, Mr. McKenzie used a small CD recorder in his classroom to get the job done. He submitted their first take. “That's the one that the balance between the track and the choir was best,” he explains.

In mid-December, when Mr. McKenzie received word that they had made it to the semi-finals, he said everyone got very excited when he announced the good news in class.

As for how Mr. McKenzie plans to spend the prize money, he’s still thinking about it.  He said, “We have a long list of things we need.”

Overbrook’s Principal, Paul Harmelin, is very proud of the accomplishments of their music program over the years.  He said, “Mr. McKenzie just had 31 students qualify for All South Jersey Chorus, which is a record.”

Mr. McKenzie explained that those 31 students are the most the school has ever had selected for South Jersey Chorus.  The whole chorale program comprises 190 students. But the Overtones is the honors choir, which is made up of 62 members in grades 10 through 12. 

The South Jersey Chorus will perform in two public concerts on January 28th at 8:00 pm and January 29th at 3:00 pm at Eastern High School in Voorhees. Tickets are $5.

Visit B101’s website to hear the Overtones perform “English Carol Melody.”

For more information about the Overbrook Overtones, go to