A group of 85 Ridgeway Elementary School third graders sang patriotic songs and played flutophones to honor soldiers during the "We Celebrate America" program last week.
Led by the school's music teacher, Sonia Castro, and art teacher, Hollie Chicalese, students also created artwork that was displayed throughout their building's hallways.
Principal Diane Pedroza said that the event was a fine arts display.
“What we did was display K-5 artwork in the hallways. All of the various types of artwork were done with Ms. Chicalese," she said.
Singing selections included traditional patriotic songs such as the “Star Spangled Banner,” and the “Military Medley,” as well as newer songs “From A Distance” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
The school does not have a chorus class, Pedroza said, so she was impressed by the vocal performances.
"We do have instructional music," she said. "The fact that these students were able to learn these songs under Mrs. Castro and put on this program is simply amazing. It really shows the outstanding talent we have here in Manchester.”
The students also sang “America, My Home” while using sign language in unison.
The flutophone ensemble performed “America The Beautiful” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”
Earlier in the day, the students were treated to meeting a sergeant from the U.S. Army. They listened to him play “Taps” and were able to pay him homage during his visit.
While “Taps” was played during the program, the audience was asked to stand in memory of fallen soldiers.
Castro reminded the audience that Memorial Day is about more than grilling, sales and having a good time.
“Memorial Day is about men and women who gave their lives so we can do those fun things," she said. "Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us.”
“It should be a day where we remember our ancestors, family members, loved ones, neighbors and friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice-those who have died in conflicts and wars for us.”
Among the 200 spectators in the audience was third grade teacher Robyn Pilcher, who said that the children did "a phenomenal job."
"They worked really hard and it showed in their performance,” she said.