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Students shine despite preparation-time cuts
TELL CITY - Tell City Junior High School chorus members came within four-and-a-half points of forcing music teacher Randy Roccia to shave his head when they scored a gold rating at an Indiana State School Music Association contest Saturday.
"If they got perfect scores from all three judges on all three songs," he explained Monday, he'd agreed to undergo a shearing of his locks.
"They came close," Roccia said. For one judge at the Tecumseh Junior-Senior High School contest site, their performances were three points shy of perfect. Another pegged them at one point away, and the third, only a half-point.
Thirty-five of the 41 students were able to compete, he said, with the others participating in a wrestling tournament or ill. Their musical selections included "Children, Go Where I Send Thee," by Ruth Elaine Schram; the Israeli folk song, "Zum Gali Gali," which they sang in Hebrew; and the Golden Rule-based "Do Unto Others," by Sonja and Berta Poorman. All three were two-part arrangements written for a junior-high chorus, Roccia said.
"I feel we performed at a very high level," he said, explaining his students were well-prepared "and the confidence they had came through in their performance."
This was the first year sixth-graders and band students could participate in chorus class, the instructor explained. It was also the first year chorus was eliminated from the curriculum, "so we had only 20 percent of the time to prepare," he said.
The News reported in June Junior-High Principal Chad Schenck would relegate Roccia to leading Reading Renaissance literacy-improvement classes. He could continue to teach chorus Fridays, which the principal described as "club days" when pupils could participate in activities such as student council.
"This was also the first year we've chosen the earliest available date to perform," Roccia said. He attributed the students' success to "simply an outstanding effort."
"I think their work ethic was well-focused," he said, also complimenting "their concentration level under performance stress - they were confident enough they could succeed."
The chorus will perform two of their contest songs and "new material we're choosing at this time," Roccia said, at a spring concert scheduled for 7 p.m. May 20 in the Tell City High School Auditorium.