For the students in the chorus at Dr. E. L. Whigham Elementary School in Cutler Bay, singing isn’t just a classroom exercise — it’s a way to get involved in the community at an early age.
The 54-member chorus is comprised of students in grades 2-5. Students who participate must audition for membership and they rehearse once a week after school.
Music teacher Katie Burdick, who is the chorus director for the school, is pleased with their skills and the effort put forth by the students.
“I am very proud of the exceptional work that our chorus is doing this year,” Burdick said. “Their voices and their recorder skills are improving. Our rehearsals are very demanding, yet the students focus and comply by giving 100 percent of their energy and talents to learn the music required for the different performance venues.”
The chorus sang for the Miami-Dade County Public School’s South Region Curriculum Expo at Southland Mall on Nov. 21, as numerous elementary, middle and senior high schools in the Southridge, South Dade and Homestead high schools’ feeder patterns presented exhibitions highlighting their schools’ offerings and special programs. More performances are ahead.
“We will musically share the spirit of the holiday season with the residents of Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and then proceed to Southland Mall for our annual 11 a.m. concert for all the shoppers,” Burdick said. “We will present our holiday concert again on Wednesday evening, Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. for the Whigham PTA, parents and guests. The public is invited.”
The students also participate in projects within the school. They make a video each year of the morning exercises, leading the student body in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem. The video is aired daily over the school’s closed circuit television system.
“We are also making a video which will be submitted to Fairchild Tropical Gardens as a part of the Fairchild Challenge,” Burdick said. “The Fairchild Challenge fosters interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature, understand the need for conservation and encourages students to become active, engaged citizens.
“Schools try to earn points by participating in various ‘challenges’ such as planting a vegetable and/or butterfly garden, participating in recycling efforts, and correlating various activities with the science curriculum.”
The schools that receive the most points are eligible for cash prizes which can then be used to support environmental activities at their school. Burdick said that Whigham hopes to earn points by submitting the video of the chorus singing songs about the environment and recycling.
Dr. E. L. Whigham Elementary School is located at 21545 SW 87 Ave. in Cutler Bay.