Holiday Sounds

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Minutes before show time at the Chesapeake Middle School on Tuesday, Abbey Kimball, a member of the school’s Panther Pizzazz Choir, was getting a quick adjustment to her hairdo before going onto the gym floor to perform.

Other than that, the teen like her classmates seemed poised and eager to go.

The junior high Elite Choir and the Panther Pizzazz Choir would join the sixth grade and the junior high bands for the first of two Christmas concerts that day — the first for the entire school in the afternoon with the second Tuesday night for parents.

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At one last practice run that morning, Chris Wyscarver and Ashli Spinks surveyed their musical troops and looked pleased with what had been accomplished over the past two months.

Since October Wyscarver, the Chesapeake schools’ band director, and Spinks, the schools’ choir director, have put the sixths, seventh and eighth graders through their paces getting ready for the annual Christmas musicals.

“The challenge is to get everyone to play Christmas music in October,” Wyscarver said as he watched the choirs rehearse. “You have to get started in October. You have to let them understand they want to make their parents and the public proud.”

Under Spinks’ direction the Panther Pizzazz choir made up of fifth and sixth graders and the Junior Elite of seventh and eighth graders offered a medley of popular Christmas songs.

“They are having so much fun,” Spinks said. “They don’t get nervous. They love to perform.”

This fall Wyscarver took the Chesapeake Marching Band all the way to the state championship where they got a superior rating, the only band in Lawrence County this year to do so.

He admits he would like to do the same with these fledgling band musicians.

“This is a very promising group,” he said. “It is self-motivation. They are still understanding their instruments. It is very rewarding for them to show their parents what they can do.”

Besides that, Wyscarver sees another advantage to concerts such as this one.

“It is good to showcase the talent at the school, besides the athletes,” he said. “That the arts are still important.”