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Kids work on choir project

by Joyce Hollister

Kids just love to sing.

That’s born out by the fact that 60 children in the new Children’s Chorus at C.C. Meneley Elementary stay after school on Wednesdays so they may practice.

“They are so committed,” said teacher Sherrie Jackson, who, with teacher Claudia Bertolone-Smith, is directing the chorus. “They provide their own transportation, and some of the kids come in from off-track.”

C.C. Meneley is a multi-track, year-round school that has, like all elementary schools in the Valley, half a year of art and half a year of music instruction.

Children want music, Jackson said.

“They miss it desperately,” she said. “It’s really a commitment to come in on their off-track time or after school. Some kids walk home in every kind of weather.”

Jackson and Bertolone-Smith started the Children’s Chorus last summer because they wanted the students to have the opportunity to take part in music all year. Their regular music instruction comes next semester.

The students in the chorus range in age from 1st through 6th grades.

During their first performance next week, they will be wearing royal blue robes with silver neckpieces, handsewn by 13 volunteers. Blue and silver are the CCMES school colors.

Materials for the robes were purchased with the two teachers’ stipends and funds Principal Brian Frazier was able to kick in, Jackson said.

It was a massive effort getting 60 robes sewn in time, but with the robes in hand, she and Bertolone-Smith hope to have an easier time of it next year, as they plan to continue with the chorus.

Students are getting excited about their first performance at the CCMES Winter Program to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 15, in the daytime for parents and again at 6:30 p.m.

The chorus will sing a variety of songs from different cultures and some old-time gospel music. Also, each grade at CCMES will sing two numbers. Holiday music will be highlighted in the program, and refreshments will be served at the evening performance.

The next night, Thursday, Dec. 16, the chorus will perform at McDonald’s in Minden from 6 to 6:30 p.m. McDonald’s is a business partner of C. C. Meneley. The students will again wear their new blue and silver choir robes.

Some of the smaller children will have to wear robes a bit big for them, as it was difficult to custom-make robes for each child.

“They are going to be very cute,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the chorus may sing at one of the assisted living centers in Gardnerville this winter, and she and Bertolone-Smith hope to offer more public performances during the next school year.