Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



After over a year of not singing together, the Wilsonville group met Nov. 3 for their first practice. 

A classroom at Lowrie Primary School was filled with music Wednesday, Nov. 3.

In the fall of 2019, John Hillan-Payne, a music teacher at Lowrie Primary School, created a community choir. He told Pamplin Media Group that after seeing a gap in evening singing clubs, he wanted to get more people singing. For the next few months, both the children's and adults' choirs met periodically and even hosted concerts. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - The students read from sheet music.

However, in March 2020, when the pandemic shut down businesses and clubs, the choir was "knocked back quite a bit," especially since group singing was considered a hazardous activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not wanting to go virtual because of the difficulty, the choirs were put on hold until further notice.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - The choir students learned standing exercises that help with breathing.But on Wednesday, Nov. 3, the Boone Bridge Children's Choir met for the first time in person since the pandemic, and for the next two months, the 30-plus member group will gather weekly to learn holiday-themed music and sing together once again, while wearing masks.

"Since the holidays are coming up, I thought this would be a great time to get people singing again," Hillan-Payne said.

He hopes to restart the adult choir soon as well.

Inside the music room, students of all grade levels gathered around Hillan-Payne as he played on an oak piano. During the first lesson, the choir director taught them how to sing certain notes, the basics of sheet music and a couple of Thanksgiving and Christmas carols. One of the students' favorites of the day was "Christmas is Coming and We Are Getting Fat!" by Dave and Jean Perry. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - John Hillan-Payne led the Boone Bridge Children's Choir through a couple holiday-themed songs.

"Christmas is coming and we are getting fat, because we ate too much of this and that," Hillan-Payne and the students sang together.

In the next few sessions, the students will learn how to how to harmonize and singing in key. The group also may practice for a potential outdoor concert, but that is undetermined.

"I'm excited for kids to hear what it sounds like to sing again … and sing with other people who love to sing," Hillan-Payne said.

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