[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Every week, a group of fourth and fifth graders from each of the five Needham elementary schools meet up to rehearse a collection of songs. These students are dedicated singers and successfully landed a spot in the Needham Elementary Honors Chorus after auditioning at the beginning of the school year.
With just five weekly rehearsals to prepare for their first concert, the Honors Chorus presented a selection of patriotic songs to sing at Needham’s Council on Aging, the Center at the Heights, for the town’s veterans on November 8.
For the past 12 years, Heather Tryon, the general music and chorus teacher at Broadmeadow Elementary, has been conducting the Honors Chorus group. “We have a couple of town-wide groups at the elementary level. There’s a town wide orchestra, there’s a town-wide band, so this just kind of fell in suit,” said Tryon.
With pianist Linda Aiken, Tryon conducted the elementary school students as they sang for those who served. The children sang classic patriotic songs like “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful,” and also performed songs like “God Bless the U.S.A.” and “Al Shlosha D’Varim.”
As the children sang “The U.S. Armed Forces Medley,” which combines all of the anthems of the branches of the military, they honored the veterans by asking them to stand or raise their hand during their branch’s part of the song. The veterans proudly stood, showing their courage and dedication to their country, and received a huge applause from the audience.
During a sing-along, the children mingled with the audience members and sat with family members and friends to spread patriotism throughout the entire room, as all came together in song.
While several singers had family members in the audience who are veterans that they hoped to honor with their singing, other students, like fifth-grader Anika Ray and fourth-grader Simi Basak from Mitchell Elementary, used the experience to better their singing, learn their country’s songs by heart, and honor their town’s veterans.
For all of those in attendance, the fourth and fifth graders proved that the appreciation and remembrance of the veterans’ bravery are stronger than ever.