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Making Sweet Melodies in the Community and Beyond

Students from Western Union Elementary have been showcasing their musical talent in a number of different ways this past Fall 2014 semester. On November 20th, 2014, students from the WUES Drumline performed for a packed crowd at Rolling Hills Country Club for the county’s BizEd Donor Breakfast.

Students in Western Union Drama performed six performances of Yes, Virginia the Musical between December 4th and 7th, with the 3rd grade following suite next week with a holiday concert on December 18th.

One student, Aurora Efird, was even selected to the North Carolina All-State Elementary Honors Chorus, composed of only 120 students from across North Carolina. She was able to perform with this select group at the annual North Carolina Music Educator Association Conference on November 10th, 2014.

Featured on the Union County Public Schools website, students in the WUES Drumline were part of the breakfast entertainment at this year’s Union County Education Foundation BizEd Breakfast. Eight students, equipped with African timbano drums funded from a grant by the same foundation, performed two songs for the crowd. Each student improvised solo parts, as well as played within the ensemble.

Many educators and community members were in attendance, including Superintendent of UCPS Dr. Mary Ellis and the immediate past principal of Western Union Elementary, Ms. Rita Webb.

For the Western Union Drama group, the performances from December 4th to 7th of Yes, Virginia the Musical, a musical based on the true story of Virginia O’Hanlon and her 1897 letter concerning the nature of Santa Claus, represented a culmination of long hours spanning two months.

With assistance primarily from Ms. Jaime Halsey, Ms. Angela Hill, Ms. Wendy Johnson, Mr. Chris Lacy, and Mr. Evan Stevens, students were selected for roles in the hour-long production in October. Students practiced three days a week for two hours from October until the first week of December.

Individuals memorized dialogue, musical numbers, choreography, and stage direction, while dealing with sound production, costuming, stage presence, and new vocal techniques. In total, 59 of the school’s 4th and 5th grade students served a role on this year’s production.


While the 4th and 5th grade students had opportunities for theatrical productions, the 3rd graders at WUES have been working hard in class for their upcoming concert. Several students from Ms. Ali’s and Ms. Burnette’s classes will be featured in solos.

In addition, students in Ms. Halsey’s, Ms. Hill’s, and Ms. Gilliard’s classes have been focusing on a song in multi-part round, a musical skill not required until 5th grade. The upcoming concert will be December 18th at 6:30 in the Western Union gym.

As a final musical showcase this semester for the school, Aurora Efird was selected to the North Carolina Elementary Honors Chorus through a rigorous audition process that ultimately selected 120 students from across the state, including only one other student from Union County.

Aurora stayed afterschool every Friday for two months to prepare music for the concert. During the weekend of December 8th-11th, 2014, she traveled to Winston-Salem, NC and rehearsed at the state Music Educator Convention with.

Her group was conducted by Tom Shelton, Jr., a prominent music educator from the Greensboro, NC area. The group premiered a newly composed song by him, One Voice.


ready to sing

Written by: Evan Stevens, WUES Music Teacher
Posted: Dec 11, 2014 by Carrie Johnson

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