News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 11, 2013

Gather ’round the tree

Woodrow Wilson students bring holiday songs to eastside neighborhood

TERRE HAUTE — As snow fell Wednesday night, chestnuts roasted on a open fire and holiday music filled the air outside one Terre Haute school.

With smiles on their faces, Woodrow Wilson Middle School students joyfully sang carols around a decorated tree — over 121⁄2 feet tall — in front of the school during the “Woodrow Wilson Community Christmas Concert.”

About 100 attendees — and people who heard the singing as they passed by the school’s 25th Street entrance — were treated to more than a dozen familiar sounds of the season, such as the upbeat “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the more solemn “Silent Night” and “White Christmas.”

It was an old-fashioned Christmas celebration, said Principal Susan Mardis, and “we want to bring it to the East side.”

Mardis spoke with pride about the school and its talented, hard-working students, who were able to show their musical talents at the event.

“I wanted to display it and get the school involved with the community on the East side,” she said.

In addition to music led by the school’s glee club and jazz band, parents, teachers and other students also enjoyed candy canes from Santa, cookies and hot chocolate for warmth.

It was a chilly night, but the singers didn’t seem to mind.

“It’s a little chilly but not too bad,” said glee club member and seventh grader Katelynn Parish.

She looked like she was having fun.

“Hanging out with these amazing people ... puts a smile on my face,” she said.  

Her favorite Christmas carol is “Frosty the Snowman.”

And as the group sang “Frosty the Snowman,” Parish turned on the lights on the reindeer antlers headband she wore. She came up with the idea to make the event more fun.

“It gets you energized,” she said.

Another glee club member energetically sang at the event.

Nikyla Marteen said her favorite Christmas carol is “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” because it’s really upbeat, and “it has a nice beat to dance to.”

She was very happy to be part of the event.

“I really enjoy it. It’s a good experience for me and I enjoy singing,” the eighth grader said.

The event was a prelude to the school’s “Holiday Choir Concert” Wednesday night.

“It was something I wanted to do my first year as principal,” Mardis said. “And I want to continue the tradition.”

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell @tribstar.com

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