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School concert honors officers, first responders

December 20, 2018
A Southside Middle School student dances a solo to "Santa Tell Me" during the 2018 Winter Concert.

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Southside Middle School Fine Arts Department honored the city of Florence, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and first responders during the 2018 winter concert “Sights and Sounds of the Season.”

The Chorus and Blue Notes sang “I Ask for One Day,” a song about hoping for peace. At the end of the song, the students held up the American flag with a blue strip to honor officers and first responders.

Chorus director Lynn Perkins said the chorus students were already working on the song, but after a shooting happened in October, they decided to honor the officers during their performance. Seven officers were shot in what investigators say was an ambush in a Florence subdivision. Two of them died.

“This year, all of the songs ended up being about peace,” Perkins said.

The art department designed cards to give to first responders and officers who were present in the audience, Perkins said. The department made enough cards to give to all 190 Florence first responders and officers.

Eighth-grader Codey Barker said it was an honor to sing a song dedicated to the officers.

The Southside Middle orchestra and Falcon Winds also performed during the concert. The two groups performed various Christmas-themed songs.

The orchestra performed songs such as “Somewhere in My Memory” and “Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The Falcon Winds performed songs such as “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls with Chips and Salsa.”

Southside Middle dancers also performed a number of pieces during the show.

Seventh-grader Jalaysia Hanna danced in the show for the first time this year. She said she enjoyed being in the show.

“There were a lot of nerves at first, but then I realized it was all normal,” she said. “I have done this before.”

The Fine Arts Department has hosted the winter concert at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center for the past seven years, Perkins said.

“It’s a lot of collaborating and working together with our Fine Arts Department,” Perkins said.

Each year, the concert is made possible through writing grants so the school can rent the facility.

Perkins said the students learn a lot about decorum and how to behave on stage through taking part in the concert.

“This is my favorite thing,” Perkins said. “Everything comes together, and it doesn’t matter how many struggles we’ve had with rehearsing this or that or whatever.”

Gloria Turner, a theater and design teacher at Southside Middle School, said the students rehearsed for most of the day for the concert.

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