Students perform at holiday tours of Governor's Mansion

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Students from five Gwinnett County schools performed at the Governor's Mansion during the annual holiday tours.

Summerour Middle School's wind ensemble and string ensemble, Sweetwater Middle's orchestra, Parkview High's chorus, Brookwood High's chamber orchestra and Norcross High's orchestra were among the groups invited from throughout the state to perform.

James Rozzi, the band director at Summerour Middle, said 12 eighth-graders comprised the wind ensemble that performed at the beginning of the touring season.

"They enjoyed it," Rozzi said. "I think for them one of the thrills of (performing at the Mansion) was getting out of Norcross. It's nice for them to get out and see what else is out there.

"Our main thing is playing for our community, but we like getting out, " he added. "Music's a beautiful thing to share."

Rozzi said the students particularly liked seeing the mansions along West Paces Ferry Road.

At the Mansion, the group played Christmas and Chanukah tunes along with its concert band repertoire, Rozzi said.

Students from Sweetwater Middle's orchestra used their appearance at the Mansion as a time to practice their holiday concert at school, said Andrew Davidson, the school's orchestra director. Twelve advanced eighth-graders were able to attend.

"This is kind of different for them," Davidson said. "They love performing outside of school."

Davidson said the students enjoyed being able to travel outside of Gwinnett County and play in "a different kind of venue."

"It was a great honor for us to be invited," Davidson said.

This year, the Governor's Mansion decoration theme included "The Colors of Christmas," which depicted the vibrant hues and spirit of the season. The Mansion also featured a "Candy Land" in the state dining room with gumdrop trees and a gingerbread house.