More than 300 students from five Hernando County schools gathered in the Powell Middle School gymnasium to join their voices with those of singers from 38 other school choruses nationwide and many others from around the world.
The World's Largest Concert included more than 1 million out-of-town voices, many from overseas schools with ties to the United States. It was recorded on March 19. But the timing of that event didn't work for the local students, who were taking the FCAT.
So Powell chorus director David Pletincks organized another sing-along event for his 100-plus students and choruses from Challenger K8 (both middle and elementary school), Fox Chapel Middle, Explorer K8 (middle school students) and Moton Elementary. They sang with the same recording the other schools sang with a couple of weeks earlier.
Earlier in the year, Powell Middle had sent a clip of its chorus to the Music Educators National Convention, which sponsored the worldwide event. The clip was included on the DVD, as was a recording of the Hernando County children's chorus, videotaped at an Oct. 24 concert.
The purpose of the coordinated songfest, Pletincks said, was "to promote vocal music education." This is the second time local children have been involved and participation was double this year.
"We would love to see every elementary, middle and high school have a choral music program," Pletincks said. "Kids love to sing. It's a great outlet for kids to express their music creativity."
Fox Chapel chorus director Ashley Pritz escorted 33 students to Powell. She brought them, she said, because "it allows students to perform together with students from other schools."
Challenger K8 chorus director Richard Gomez was there with 80 elementary and 36 middle school students. The concert, he said, "Unified the arts and lets the county see what kinds of music programs we have."
Tom Squiller brought 24 students from Explorer K8 and Michele Rose took 65 from Moton to the concert.
All five schools sang with recorded students from Washington, D.C., North and South Carolina, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Hawaii and other states, as well as some from other areas of Florida.
They sang the Star Spangled Banner, Ev'rybody Say Peace, Ulili E, I'll Make the Difference, There's Magic in the Music and Follow the Drinking Gourd. The DVD was interspersed with student-written essays about music and imagination and lasted about 30 minutes.
Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.