Because the Stevens Point Area School District eliminated fourth- to sixth-grade chorus due to the failure of the 2009 referendum, musically-inclined children lost a musical outlet. To address this problem, Sandy Weyers, a Washington Elementary School music teacher, decided to create a temporary volunteer chorus.
Weyers’ chorus started in mid-February and meets weekly for an hour after school. She has 28 third- through sixth-graders student in the chorus.
Weyers said the idea for the chorus started last year when the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) funded an Opera for the Young performance at Washington. Opera for the Young likes to have a small chorus help out during the performance, and Weyers had an audition for all interested children.
“I had over 80 kids audition,” she said.
Due to the high audition turnout, Weyers said she recognized a great need for chorus.
“I thought maybe next school year I could help kids find a performance venue,” she said.
Weyers said she was also inspired by Deb Pionek, a then-music teacher at Bannach Elementary School who had started a successful volunteer chorus.
Weyers and her chorus joined forces with Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI), another after-school program run by Washington teachers Mary Ladron and Sue Van Dreser. JOOI is sponsored by the Stevens Point Plover Optimists and has been a Washington School service-based club for 10 years, said Van Dreser.
Van Dreser said the chorus and JOOI complement each other because both center on performance art for their joint May musical performance, with JOOI incorporating theater.
“The goal is to support the efforts of both groups and project a message of character building,” Van Dreser said.
For more information on the Stevens Point Optimist Club, contact the Stevens Point Noon Optimist Club at 715-345-2356 or visit www.optimist.org.