CHS Peace Pipers to sing on Fri­day at White House

Pri­vate per­for­mance slated in D.C.

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­[email protected]­news.com

It’s not every day you get to play dress up and sing Christ­mas songs at the White House.

Chop­ti­con High School’s 20 mem­ber Peace Pipers group is sched­uled on Fri­day to per­form Christ­mas and Re­nais­sance-style mu­sic for vis­it­ing dig­ni­taries and those on White House tours.

Teacher Sarah Lorek, who is the cur­rent pub­lic school’s teacher of the year, said Tues­day that she sent in record­ings and an ap­pli­ca­tion months ago for the chance to per­form. She said she wasn’t sure who the spe­cific sopho­more, ju­nior and se­nior stu­dents were that would be able to per­form that day. She was told that the gen­eral pub­lic would not be able to at­tend the per­for­mance.

Lorek said she’s been teach­ing at the school for more than a dozen years, and this was the first op­por­tu­nity in that time the group has been able to per­form at the White House. She said “there have been many bless­ings

in the last year” for the group, in­clud­ing the com­mu­nity sup­port for their an­nual madri­gal per­for­mances, which were held last week­end. The group also re­cently recorded a YouTube video with the Air Force Singing Sergeants.

She said the group would be wear­ing the themed cos­tumes the stu­dents de­signed them­selves; the teacher al­lowed the stu­dents the chance to ex­press their cre­ativ­ity through the cos­tumes.

“We’ll look a lit­tle out of place,” Chop­ti­con se­nior Macken­zie Wind­sor joked.

Ju­nior Matthew Nor­ris said the per­for­mance is “a once-ina-life­time op­por­tu­nity” to rep­re­sent Chop­ti­con and St. Mary’s County.

Among tunes like “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and other clas­sics, the group will per­form the high school’s alumni piece, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

Wind­sor said she was “re­ally ex­cited” about the chance to per­form in Wash­ing­ton and grate­ful for those who sup­ported the group. The stu­dent said she was plan­ning to study mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion in col­lege, and those who want to work in mu­sic should be­lieve in them­selves and “don’t give up.”

Nor­ris said those who are in­ter­ested but ner­vous about per- form­ing with a mu­si­cal group should join a com­mu­nity choir to “work on your voice.” He said he ap­pre­ci­ated the com­mu­nity sup­port the Peace Pipers have re­ceived this year.

The Peace Pipers, a stu­dent-led group, orig­i­nally formed in 1977, Lorek said. The stu­dents form an ad­vanced choir, tak­ing a more thor­ough look at how to per­form a va­ri­ety of mu­si­cal styles, and they work to­gether to im­prove other skills like lead­er­ship and time man­age­ment. Lorek said “mu­sic is the con­duit to where we are go­ing.”

The stu­dents “re­ally em­brace and em­body the mu­sic,” the teacher said, adding that she “re­lies on them to make the mu­sic.” About half of the stu­dents are in the high school’s Academy of Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts.

“They’re all good hu­man be­ings,” she said, adding that the stu­dents live by the motto “kind­ness in com­mu­nity.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI

Mem­bers of Chop­ti­con High School’s Peace Pipers choir group re­hearse Christ­mas and other mu­sic on Tues­day in prepa­ra­tion for a per­for­mance at the White House this Fri­day.

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