This year at Salt River Elementary School and Salt River High School, the counseling department emphasized the “Character Counts” program with the students, which consists of six pillars: respect, trustworthiness, citizenship, fairness, caring and responsibility.
For the Spring Concert, the 3rd-6th grade students and SRES Chorus performed a program entitled, “Character Counts” on Friday, May 7 at Salt River Elementary School. Salt River Music Specialist Suzanne Decker chose songs with lyrics that exemplified those six character traits.
As a group, the chorus sang two songs that included “Character Tango” and “Inside Out.” Several students also did well in solo performances; soloist Alamea Patrick, in 5th grade, sung her heart out to “Respect” and got a big reaction from the crowd. 5th-grader Kenneth Antone sang “You Can Count on Me,” and 6th-grader Stella Nunez sang “Inside Out” by Randy Rebold and Dan Marsh.
Standing up to sing in front of an audience is a difficult task but these children did it well, standing and singing proudly in front of their family and friends. There were about 150 students and family members in the audience for the concert.
About the songs the chorus learned and practiced for the concert, 5th-grader and chorus member Richard Gonzalez said, “I learned to be respectful to my elders, family and friends.” He added, “Being trustworthy means you can trust someone to keep a secret.” The concert was fun for Gonzalez, he said, and he was glad he got the opportunity to express himself and sing.
Chorus is a positive outlet for children. Results from a study by the nonprofit group Chorus America indicated that students who sing in their school, church or community chorus have more self-confidence, and that learning songs helps them improve their memory skills. Another positive note is that children who participate in chorus get better grades.
“I love my job,” Decker said. “I help the children each day to grow and bring out their confidence.”
On Friday, May 14, the Salt River Elementary Chorus took their act on the road to Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler and sung in an unfamiliar setting, in front of an audience of family, friends, and visitors to the resort. The chorus performed four patriotic songs, one of which was “God Bless America” in O’Odham, and shared two social dances with the audience. “The end of the year performance is always a very special time for the SRES Chorus. We get an opportunity to go somewhere new to share O’Odham language and culture with new people. We also get a chance to celebrate our accomplishments from the previous year by having fun together,” said Decker.