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Singing Songs For Soldiers



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Singing Songs For Soldiers

By Eliza Hallabeck

The microphone was on, Reed Intermediate School sixth grade Volunteer Chorus members were singing, and two writers for the school press anxiously jotted in their notebooks.

For the first time on Tuesday, December 9, students were recording songs for a noneducational purpose. From the recordings made on Tuesday, the students voices will travel across the world this Valentine’s Day as part of a three-school contribution to send service personnel Valentine’s Day letters, and now CDs.

This is the first year students from Sandy Hook School, Reed Intermediate School, and Newtown Middle School will be participating together in the process. For the past three years students from Sandy Hook School have sent cards and letters to military men and women overseas.

Out of the 59 members of the Volunteer Chorus, 29 members were able to use their lunch time or use a pass to make it out of classes to be at the recording.

“They are wonderful, conscientious students,” said RIS teacher Michelle Tenenbaum.

“They are phenomenal,” said Donna Monteleone Randle, who is the St Valentine’s Day Project chairperson. “And you as well,” she said, speaking to Ms Tenenbaum.

The St Valentine’s Day Project started at Sandy Hook School from a comment from her son’s second grade teacher. For the last three year, Ms Randle said, Sandy Hook School have been writing letters to military men and women that are added by themselves or others to the mailing list.

This year, students at Sandy Hook School will be joined by students at Reed Intermediate School and Newtown Middle School, which is doing it as a Student Council endeavor. Ms Randle said she expects 2,500 letters will be written this year and sent overseas.

“We are so blessed in this town to have the teachers and the staff,” said Ms Randle, who then added the names of other members of the Newtown Public Schools System, “… every one of them is phenomenal.”

 Ms Tenenbaum said Ms Randle emailed everybody “about this wonderful project,” and Ms Tenenbaum thought of recording CDs for the effort.

When she told the students about the idea, Ms Tenenbaum said the students all thought it was beautiful.

“What a great thing to have the students exposed to so early on,” said Ms Tenenbaum.

While some of the songs may be rerecorded to allow more students the chance to participate, the recordings made on Tuesday will be the official recordings. More songs may also be added to the CDs and opening remarks will still be recorded for each song. The remarks will be read by individual students, and were written by Ms Tenenbaum’s husband, Steven Tenenbaum.

Songs recorded on Tuesday include “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” “Edelweiss,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”

Tuesday was also the first time the students sang with a live accompanist, Dorris Lapat, who is a retired teacher from Head O’ Meadow.

“I think it is a nice idea for all of our servicemen,” said sixth grade Volunteer Chorus member Nokomis Leaman, while she was leaving from the practice.

Nokomis said it is a nice way to let the military men and women know the students are grateful for their work.

Ms Randle said there are still more soldiers names needed to send letters too. The CDs will be sent along with the letters in boxes in bulk mail packages to individuals serving overseas. Ms Randle can be contact through Reed Intermediate School for people who wish to add their names, or others’ names to the mailing list.

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