The Washington High School Choir has been selected to perform for the 100th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial.
“This truly will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” WHS Vocal Music Director Jessie Patterson said in a release announcing the selection. “We are excited and humbled to have been chosen for this great honor.”
Washington students will have a performance with choirs from across the country March 25 and then will have their own separate performance the next day in front of another yet-to-be-named historic monument.
The WHS Choir was selected to perform from a committee through Historic Programs, a nonprofit organization that produces events around the world commemorating people, places and events. The committee identified music programs around the country based on state contest results, community involvement or events and references from other music educators. Patterson said her choir has earned the highest grade from judges at the state competitions for six years in a row.
“They are always in here ready to work and ready to get stuff done,” Patterson said. “They just try their best every single day, and that makes a big difference in the program.”
One school from each state was invited to participate in the commemoration.
“The event will provide students with a deeper appreciation of our 16th President, as well as the rich history of his memorial in our nation’s capital,” wrote Chris Meeker, a member of the Historic Programs Committee, in the invitation sent to the Washington High School Choir program. “It is important that each state be represented in this commemoration, and we would love to have the Washington High School Choir represent Missouri. Congratulations on having an exceptional program and on receiving the invitation.”
Patterson said the invitation came as a complete surprise. In addition to the performances, the experience will give some students the opportunity to fly for the first time or go farther from home than they have ever been. She said after a year of social distancing, singing with masks and virtual performances, the trip to Washington, D.C., will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Senior Emma Busch, who is the vice president of choir, said after the pandemic canceled a trip to Tennessee, this will be the first time she will experience traveling with the choir to perform. It won’t be her first time in D.C., but Busch said she is looking forward to meeting and singing with choirs from across the country.
During their visit, students will also have a number of tours around town, including the Washington by Night Guided Tour. On that tour, students will see the Washington Monument, FDR Memorial, Einstein Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, World War II Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. They also will take guided tours of Arlington National Cemetery, Ford’s Theater and one of the Smithsonian museums, something that interests history-inclined students like junior Madison Broughton, who said she might want to work as a curator someday.
To help pay for the trip, the WHS Choir has held various fundraising events, including a barbecue tailgate event at a recent football game and its upcoming Madrigal Dinner performance. It is also accepting donations to help with the expenses. The link to donate is washington.revtrak.net/High-School-Fees/#/v/high-school-choir-donation.