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Southmoreland elementary chorus tunes up for PNC Park

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Southmoreland's fifth- and sixth-grade chorus will sing the National Anthem at the Pirates game on Saturday, April 20, 2013. This is a picture of last year's performance.

For the second straight year, the Southmoreland fifth- and sixth-grade chorus will be singing the national anthem at PNC Park before a Pirates' game.

This year, the singers will take to the field April 20 when the Buccos host the Atlanta Braves.

“It was just word of mouth last year,” said Meghan Whytsell, music and chorus teacher for Southmoreland's primary center and elementary school. “A teacher told me that you're allowed to have kids sing. ... If you sell enough tickets, you're eligible to go and you get some of the money back for your school.”

So, the chorus was able to sell 400 tickets to be able to sing at a weekend game.

“They're so excited,” Whytsell said. “You get to be on the field where all the Pirates are warming up.”

The chorus sang at a weekday game last season, which doesn't require the sale of as many tickets.

“It was awesome,” Whytsell said.

The chorus has been preparing all year for this performance in a way.

“They sing on the announcements every morning,” Whytsell said. “We've practiced it in the general music classes. As a group, we just have to at our weekly rehearsal make sure we spend a few minutes doing that.”

Obviously, the kids are excited.

“I think it's going to be fun,” said Courtney Myers, a fifth-grade student. “We get to watch the game after. It's going to be cool to see everybody. (I'm) excited. We get to sing in front of a lot of people.”

“I was excited,” added Caileigh Johnston, fifth-grade student. “Then I was scared that somebody would mess up or I would mess up....There's going to be a lot of people, not only is there a lot of people in the crowd and there will be people watching on TV.”

“I'm excited because I know a lot of my family is coming to watch,” said Abby Fullem, fifth-grade student. “I like to sing a lot. I'm going to be nervous. I know that because I always get nervous in front of a big crowd.”

Julia Morvosh, a fifth-grade student, said some past performing experience has taken away her nervousness.

“Not really,” Morvosh said about being nervous. “I like dancing and I (do that) by myself and I think I can handle (singing the anthem at the game).”

It's the middle of a busy season for the chorus of about 90 members.

The next two Wednesdays, they will be participating in Evenings of the Arts — April 17 at the primary center and April 24 at the elementary school beginning at 6 p.m. each night. In each case the event — organized by Whytsell and art teacher Gia Poska — will feature student art work displayed throughout the building.

At the primary center, students will perform the musical “How does Your Garden Groove.” There will be entertainment provided by Blue Mile Jazz at the elementary school. Students and their families can attend hands-on workshops presented by Seton Hill University, Gateway to the Arts, Fallingwater and Westmoreland Museum of Art.

The group “Cello Fury” is expected to be on hand as well as Mike Why, who specializes in beat boxing.

“Parents can come in with their kids and know what we do,” Whytsell explained. “There's a list of people that come in and do workshops in all the rooms. The parents can walk around with (their children) and understand and appreciate music and all the all work of the kids.”

The chorus will wind up the school year with a concert with the fifth- and sixth-grade band at 7 p.m. May 23 at the high school.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or