Published: Sunday, April 15, 2007
Wilson seeks alumni to perform in concert
Alumni from as far away as Oregon and Indiana will return for the show.
By HAROLD GWIN
YOUNGSTOWN Anyone who ever played in the Woodrow Wilson High School Band or sang in the school choir has an opportunity to relive their glory days.
The school is set to close permanently with the end of this school year and will be razed to make way for a new middle school. Some Wilson students will go to Chaney, and others will go to the new East High School next fall.
The high school choir and band offer a combined concert each spring, and the event set for May 3 will be Wilson's last.
Elaine Carlson, vocal music director, and Jessica Heisel, instrumental music director, decided to make this Wilson's biggest show ever and have issued open invitations for band and choir alumni to join current students on stage for the performance, which will begin at 7 p.m.
The invitation also extends to alumni who were part of the Ensemble, a select group of singers that performs separate numbers at the concerts.
"We need to get the word out," Carlson said, explaining that alerting recent alumni to the special concert hasn't been much of a problem but reaching those who attended Wilson a couple of decades ago is more of a challenge.
"We just thought it would be fun for them to come back and be a part of the concert," she said. "The people we've talked to are all excited."
Some alumni feel that music was a highlight of their time in high school, she said.
The music directors have set up special rehearsal times at the school starting next week for alumni band, choir and Ensemble practices.
If they don't want to pick up their old band instrument or sing, they're still invited to the concert and the reception set to follow it, Carlson said.
"I thought it was a really good idea," said Heisel, in her first year at Wilson. "Our kids need something to be excited about."
It was Carlson, who has been at the school since 1984, who came up with the plan, Heisel said.
The kids are feeling kind of bad about losing their school. This will give them "something to remember it by," she said.
The band has 20 students, and Heisel said she's received about 10 responses from alumni so far but is hoping between 20 and 30 will come back to join the students in their final performance.
"I'm expecting a big turnout if they know about it," Carlson said.
A former student who graduated in the early 1990s is coming back from Oregon to sing with the choir, which is 50 voices strong, she said, adding that a 1985 graduate now living in Indiana will do the same.
Carlson said they've put out fliers and current and former students are touting the concert on the Internet.
Interested alumni can call the school at (330) 744-8525 to reach Heisel or Carlson, or they can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org with their contact information. Any message should include name, phone number, year of graduation and vocal range or instrument played.