OUT IN THE CROWD: Spring concert for Gwinnett Young Singers today

The intensity of 40-plus voices -- a soaring soprano line, a rumble of bass and rich layers of alto and tenor voices -- blended together in hauntingly beautiful harmonies.

And so it went as the Chamber Choir, one of several choirs under the umbrella of Gwinnett Young Singers, rehearsed an arrangement of Billy Joel's ballad "And So It Goes," each singer following the curve of Daniel Dalpiaz's hands as he moved them in time, allowing 40 voices to sing as one.

The piece is one of more than 20 that will be performed by six choirs during Gwinnett Young Singers' 20th annual spring concert today.

The organization was founded by Lynn Urda, who continues to serves as conductor and musical director, and provides an advanced choral experience for singers in second through 12th grade. Gwinnett Young Singers is the resident children's choir at the Hudgens Center for the Arts.

"In 1990, Gwinnett County was the fastest growing county in the nation. It seemed logical to me that it was in need of a children's choir," Urda said. "Since founding GYS, I have seen it grow from one choir of 34 children to an organization of six choirs with well over one hundred singers."

In 2004, Gwinnett Young Singers merged with the Atlanta Youth Choir, a Snellville-based children's choir under the direction of Phillip Shoultz, who will direct the Georgia Young Men's Ensemble on this evening.

"This merger has produced an even stronger force for making great music in Gwinnett County," Urda said.

Dalpiaz himself is a longtime member of Gwinnett Young Singers. The South Gwinnett senior will take Urda's place before the Chamber Choir to direct "And So It Goes."

Three of the staff directors -- Amanda Dodd, who conducts the Treble Choir (second through fifth grades), Amanda Sali for the Allegro Choir (sixth through eighth grades) and Adrienne Gustafson for the Concert Choir (seventh through 12th grades) -- are former members of Gwinnett Young Singers. In addition to performances by each of their respective choirs, a combined choir of the Concert Choir and Hudgens Choir will perform.

"The audience will enjoy a very wide range of music -- secular and sacred music, ranging from classical to spirituals to pop," Urda said. "I imagine that they will be surprised that children and youth are extremely capable of making great music. Our singers are everyday, 'normal' children who have a passion for singing."

Gwinnett Young Singers will present its spring concert at 8 p.m. today at Lilburn Christian Church. Admission is $5. For more information, call 770-935-6657 or visit www.gwinnettyoungsingers.com.