Speaking to the large group of families and friends assembled at Boothbay Harbor Congregational Church for the Boothbay Region Elementary School choruses concert on Tuesday, March 3, music teacher Genie O’Connell referred to the event as “third time lucky,” due to the two previous weather cancellations.
The individual choruses, which total 61 members from grades four through eight, presented a 30-minute program that included flashlights, bells, drums, finger snapping and sign language along with piano to accompany their vocals. Each chorus sang two songs and the combined choruses sang “Yonder Come Day,” a Georgia sea islands spiritual. Audience members joined the combined choruses to sing the last song, “When The Saints Go Marching In.”
Billed as a “Winter Chorus Concert,” the event was first scheduled for December but cancelled due to weather. A second date was set in January but weather again forced its cancellation. Principal Shawna Kurr commented that the choruses were now also preparing for the spring concert.
The program was wide-ranging and included a Ghanaian folksong, “Sansa Kroma,” which was sung a capella. Soloist performances during the concert were by Laura Chapman, Lily Nein, Suzie Edwards, Skyla Carrier, Hannah Hills and Imij Armstead who signed during her solo performance of “Fight Song.”
O’Connell explained to the Boothbay Register, the choruses work on skill-building which includes sight reading. Although the individual grades rehearse during the school day, the first rehearsal with all grades together was Tuesday afternoon.
O’Connell said she appreciates having time during the school day to work with the students on building their skills and also appreciates the funding music receives as part of the annual school budget. “Music reaches inside of us,” she said. “You can’t be angry at people when you’re singing together.”