CHURUBUSCO — Churubusco Elementary School Chimers and Churubusco Junior-Senior High School show choir gave their first concert this week at Sweetwater music studio, Fort Wayne, as part of its annual Sounds of the Season.
This special performance was professionally taped to air on several television channels. Beginning Thanksgiving Day, the performances can be viewed on Indiana’s News Center’s channels 21 and 33.
It will also run periodically until Christmas, along with other area schools’ performances.
Fourth- and fifth-grade Chimers, led by Sue Lough, only began their season in September, and many of the students are new this year.
Lough said, “Normally they wouldn’t be performing until the week of Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of work to be ready by Nov. 1. They’ve been working super hard for this.”
With the multi-chordal sound of chimes, the students played “Oh Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bells.”
Lough has been with Smith-Green Community Schools since 1979, and the chimes program has been in existence since 1990 when then-principal Mary Chandler encouraged Lough to begin an advanced music program for some of the students.
Lough said it had always been her goal to do elementary music. She holds a bachelors’ degree in music education from Taylor University and a masters’ in education from Indiana University. Lough teaches music for kindergarten through fifth grades, chimes and “Soundmasters,” the fourth- and fifth-grade choir. She was named the 2005 Indiana State Music Educator of the Year.
In the past, the Chimers have performed at the Indiana Music Educators State Convention, the Indiana State House and they have even played the National Anthem at TinCaps games. Lough expressed her appreciation for the support from the administration at SGCS, especially in a time when so many schools are seeing cuts in funding in its arts programs.
The Chimers are an advanced music group. To become a Chimer, a student must score well on their third grade music test and be asked to audition.
The high school show choir, New Era, is under the direction of new teacher Parker Terry, and took the stage at Sweetwater second.
The group performed “Follow that Star” a cappella and “What Child is This?” with piano played by Melissa Baughman. The choir is relatively balanced in gender and vocal parts.
Terry, a recent Indiana Wesleyan graduate, joined the SGCS team only 11 weeks ago. He student taught at both North- and Southside High Schools in the choir departments and began his work with show choir at Northside.
On his opinion of his new job, Terry said, “I love it. It’s my dream job. I walked into a sound and very good program.”
Recent awards for New Era include Best Outfits and People’s Choice at the Watseka Show Choir Competition in Ohio and Runner-Up and Best Crew at the Homestead Classic Show Choir Competition. The group has been finalists at several competitions throughout the region. Two years ago, New Era competed at the FAME festival in Orlando, Fla., and they hope to pursue this again in a few years.
Both musical groups will perform at the Christmas bazaar, a day-long event held at the high school Dec. 1. The Chimers play at 10:30 a.m. and New Era performs at 2:30 p.m. The Chimers have an additional performance at their Winter program Dec. 12 and New Era will be part of a joint band and choir concert Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. at CJSHS’s Jason Smith Auditorium. New Era’s competition season begins at Bishop Dwenger Jan. 26.