Freeman High Choir Made Much Out Of Nothing

Tom Anderson doesn’t mind singing his own praises.

After all, the Freeman High School choir director started from scratch three years ago. The school hadn’t had a choir in 15 years, but word of mouth brought 42 willing students into the class.

Now Anderson has a choir of 45 students, half of whom have been with the choir since it started.

“They have definitely improved in the last three years,” Anderson said. “It’s a nonauditioned choir. If you want to get real nitpicky, you probably could.”

Anderson will talk to other music educators at a workshop at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Agricultural Trade Center.

About 1,200 educators from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska are in town for the Northwest Music Educators Conference, which coincides with the All-Northwest Music Festival.

“That’s part of the reason I wanted to do this workshop - to show what a non-auditioned choir can do after three years,” Anderson said.

As part of his workshop, the Freeman High choir will perform three of Anderson’s arrangements. Three professional Spokane musicians will accompany the choir on the drums, bass and piano.

“It’s kind of hard for everyone to do this,” Anderson said. “The selection of music has worked pretty well. You’re not trying to match the kids to the music. You match the music to the kids. That’s been a real advantage, to be able to write for them.”

Anderson also teaches choir at grades five through eight at Freeman Elementary.

Sophomore Bill Bickler, 16, joined the choir in eighth grade. He said he was happy the choir had been started at the high school level.

“I’m a really big music person,” Bickler said. “I really enjoy it. I think it’s been really good for the school.”

Bickler, a baritone, was selected to the AllState Music Festival last year.

The All-Northwest Music Festival is held every two years. This year, the festival, which features a high school orchestra, a band, a treble choir, a full choir, a jazz band and a jazz choir, will be held in Spokane.

The jazz concert will be at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Opera House. The orchestra, band and choir concerts will start at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Acts of kindness

It may not be that random, but students at Trent Elementary don’t seem to mind.

The entire month of February has been dubbed “Random Acts of Kindness” month at the school. Friday is the National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

“It’s really been fun,” Principal Shelley Harding said. “We’ve always had caring days in February. We decided to try something different this year.”

The school has asked students to help collect pennies to buy $100 pieces of the Centennial Trail “Miracle Mile,” to decorate two paper hearts with pictures of themselves doing good deeds, and to take on a cross-age partner.

“The children and the parents have been so supportive,” Harding said. “We’re just really tickled.”

So far, students and parents have raised at least $230 in pennies. The first $200 went to two chunks of the Miracle Mile; the third $100 will probably be donated to a charity, Harding said.

The school is now hanging up the paper construction hearts in the hallway.

And the cross-age student partners have been earning money for charity and making friendship bracelets for each other.

“Schools are really an important place to learn to be a responsible part of the community,” Harding said. “There’s so much alienation in our world. Our school should be a haven and a model for how to be a responsible adult.”

CV High jazz bands perform

Two jazz bands from Central Valley High School will showcase their talents next week in a concert with two other schools before they compete at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.

Joining the two CV bands in the third annual Jazz Extravaganza will be two groups from Lewis and Clark High School and the Eastern Washington University Jazz Ensemble, said CV band director Brad Constantine.

The free concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Lewis and Clark auditorium, W521 Fourth Ave.

Blake PTSA buys computer

Students at Blake Elementary now have another computer in the library, thanks to the elementary’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

The PTSA raised about $2,400 for a computer that can be used for resource material on CD-ROM. This means the students can use the computer to read CDs such as the encyclopedia.

“It’s been approved and purchased,” Principal Sid Crowe said. “It’s sitting in the boxes. It just arrived on Friday.”

It’s the second such computer that the PTSA has donated.

Prizes for students

Students who have no unexcused absences are eligible for a contest at Valley Albertsons stores, even if they’re sick for weeks.

The three stores are holding a drawing March 11 at the Millwood store. Students who show their eligible report cards at any of the stores until March 10 can enter the contest up to 10 times.

They can win bikes, bike helmets, boom boxes and TVs. All students will receive a prize.

“We just want to nip the unexcused absences in the bud,” said Lorna Beck, receiving clerk and promotion manager at the Millwood Albertsons. “We’d much rather have the children stay home and get well.”

The “stay in to win” contest will be held every semester, Beck said.

PTA’s birthday

The Parent Teacher Student Association at Opportunity Elementary will celebrate the 98th birthday of Parent Teacher Associations on Friday.

The open house will be held from 2:45 to 6 p.m. on Friday at the school. Cake and refreshments will be served.

Education Notebook is a regular feature of the Valley Voice. If you have news about an interesting program or activity at a Valley school or about the achievements of Valley students, teachers or school staff, please let us know. Write: Education Notebook, Valley Voice, E13208 Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2164. Fax: 927-2175.

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