Mary Ellis

Miami News-Record

The Will Rogers Middle School Show Choir did better this year than ever before.

Music instructor Robbie Lewis and dance instructor, school librarian Rhonda McMinn, credit that, in part, to the trip the students took to New York City.

The students attended several Broadway shows and participated in a workshop by the cast of the Broadway play "Mama Mia."

The trip was held during spring break.

Plans are in the works to attend a similar trip during the next school year.

During the Ozark Festival held in April in Ozark, Mo., the show choir received a superior rating trophy, was named outstanding in their class and was named overall outstanding choir at the competition.

"There are lots of choirs at the Ozark Festival," Lewis said. "They come from all over the country and we were named the top choir. Itís quite an honor."

The show choir also received a superior rating at the competition held at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.

Students participating in the show choir are not assigned to that class, they have to audition.

This yearís participants include Ashlyn Bashore, Katelyn Berry, Hunter Burrow, Caleb Cox, Samantha Daugherty, Jacie Housman, Brady Huffman, Faith Mahurin, Hannah Osborn, Anna Owens, Madison Pendergraft, Tori Rowland, Hanna Shyers, Jesilynne Simpson, Sarah Stewart, Jimi Tucker and Taylar Walker.

"For myself, I regret that so many of these students are graduating and moving on to the high school," Lewis said. "They set a whole new standard."

Lewis wasnít as please with the students at the beginning of practice.

"I told them they had a really good sound," he said. "But, somehow I couldnít get them to buckle down."

Following a performance at a competition, he made them watch another group.

"They were all saying, ĎIs that what we looked like in the beginning,í" Lewis said. "They were more impressed with what we had accomplished."

The only students who will be remaining at Will Rogers are Bashore, Cox, Daugherty, Osborn and Stewart.

The show choir students practiced after school three days a week in addition to an hour class every day.

Lewis and McMinn are planning to hold their own workshop on June 19 for children in third through sixth grades. The one-day workshop will be $25 and include lunch.

The children will be taught a song and dance and will perform it for their parents at the end of the day.

The proceeds will be used to help finance the next show choirís trip to New York City.

"This will help us introduce the younger children to what we do," said McMinn.

"We performed for all the elementary schools last year," Lewis said. "Iíve spoken to many of their teachers and they say their students have all been talking about the performance and how they want to be part of it."

Anyone interested in registering for the workshop may reach Lewis or McMinn at Will Rogers Middle School in the mornings. They can also call Michelle Bashore at 541-7833 and register.