Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Symbols clanged, students sang, and monkeys marched Tuesday night during Mt. Pleasant Middle School’s final concert of the school year.
The night began with middle school choir director Colin DePriest leading the eighth-grade students in three songs.
This was only DePriest’s second year directing the middle school choirs.
“It was fun to just get back to what choir should feel like,” DePriest said. “Just singing next to each other was way more fun.”
Students focused on DePriest as they sang “Ad Astra” by Jacob Narverud,
Count the Stars” by Andy Beck, and “‘Til the Walls Come Down” by Lon Beery.
Eighth-grader Caleb Reyes earned the opportunity to give his first ever solo performance during the last song.
“It was all right,” Reyes said with a smile as he answered how he felt about his performance.
Reyes said that he is excited to continue to do solo performances in the future.
The seventh-grade choir followed with a lighthearted rendition of “Sweet Betsy from Pike” arranged by Greg Gilpin followed by “Oceans and Stars” by Amy Bernon and finished with Touch the sky by Alexander L Mandel with a solo from Vivian Cornell.
“That is from Brave,” third-grader LilyAnn Ward said of the final song in excitement from the audience.
The choir portion of the evening was ended with a talented and surprising performance from the sixth-grade choir.
“We weren’t originally going to sing this song, but as we were going through some YouTube videos in class this song came on and all the students began singing along,” DePriest said.
Students beamed as they sang the popular “Sunday best” by Forrest Frank/Colin Padalecki.
The sixth-grade choir also gave a sweet performance of “Firefly” by Audrey Snider and a powerful rendition of “Cindy” arranged by Neil A Johnson which showcased a surprisingly powerful men’s section.
The audience had a good laugh as Bella Tedrow surprised DePriest by following through on a promise to shout “Cindy!” at the end of the choir portion of the concert.
Once the choirs had given all they had, it was time for the seventh and eighth-graders to show off their instrumental skills.
Middle school band director Adam Creager beamed with pride as he explained the themes of compassion, perseverance, and hope present in Larry Neeck’s “Bravura!”
A nearly vocal sound rose form the band as they played.
The song was strong yet sweet which made Neeck’s dedication to New York City Intermediate School, which was the school closest to the Trade Center on Sept. 11, even more poignant.
The crowd appeared to agreed as they applauded enthusiastically at its conclusion.
“Sit back and nerd out a little bit,” Creager said as an introduction to The Mandalorian arranged by Paul Murtha.
The most memorable moment of the concert, however, came when the band played the circus like “Torch of Liberty” written by Karl King and arranged by Swearingen.
Emma Welcher had the privilege of directing the song and did an excellent job maintaining her composer as the circus Creager had promised show up.
Like the wind up clapping monkey toys Creager and students marched the band banging symbols and a drum to create a sense of chaotic fun that only the circus can.
Creager said that he enjoyed the experience, but it was an impromptu idea executed by Gavin Kerr and Carter Myers.
The evening concluded with “Africa” arranged by Jerry Davis.
When carefully observed a number of adults in the crowd could be seen, bopping, nodding, and singing as the band talentedly executed the performance.
Just like that, the band began to clap on rhythm. Creager had them hold. One final clap perfectly timed ended the evening with a big bang.
“It was a great way to cap the year off,” Creager said. “I’ve really, really enjoyed this years seventh and eighth-grade band. They worked really, really hard.”
By the sound of roaring applause at the concert’s conclusion, it would be safe to assume the audience felt similarly.
To be involved with music in the Mt. Pleasant community residents can reach out to the music booster’s program which is looking for new faces to be mentored for future leadership roles.
An opportunity perform is also available through the Community Band of Mt. Pleasant.
Currently the band contains members ranging from fourteen to nearly 80 years old and is open to anyone able to play an instrument.
For additional information contact Creager via email email@example.com or call the middle school office at (319) 385-7730 and ask for Adam Creager.