Outreach essential for Lucama chorus

16th year for the Little Rock Church performance

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LUCAMA — When Kitty Barnes asked Lucama Elementary School music teacher Jana Winders if the Lucama Singing Cardinals could perform for The Lunch Bunch at Little Rock Original Free Will Baptist Church, the group booked the date.

On Wednesday, the Cardinals marked the 16th year the chorus had performed a holiday concert at the church.

“Our senior adults love them. This is their favorite program. They always come back,” Barnes said. “The applause is wonderful. They will say I always look forward to coming on this day because this is my favorite day to hear those kids. Some of these folks are away from families, and they don’t always have the opportunity to hear a group like this, so they can come here in the daytime and it’s safe and they just come and enjoy.”

Barnes said there is a smile on every face in the room when the Cardinals sing.

“There may be some that don’t know a single soul in this chorus, but it doesn’t matter,” Barnes said.

Winders, who has been the music education teacher at Lucama Elementary School for 17 years, thought it would be a great idea and made it a tradition.

“It is really important for me to teach our children that community outreach and sharing your gift with others is important,” Winders said. “They sing here at school and that is wonderful, but a big piece of music education is sharing that with others so I think it is really important for these kids to not only give concerts but also go into the community and perform for different community members.”

On Wednesday, 63 students dressed in festive holiday colors walked across the street to perform for 35 seniors.

Mary High of Bailey drove to Lucama to hear grandson Landon High, a fourth-grader, sing with the group.

“They really did a good job. They have a good teacher,” High said. “They are just good children. They are just wonderful.”

The group performed its Christmas repertoire for the year, including “Hope’s the Thing,” two pieces from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a jazzy version of “Frosty the Snowman” and “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” from “Elf,” the musical.

Part of the performance included a slower piece called “Peaceful.”

“We talk a lot with the kids about in the state of the world at this time. Sometimes we just need to remember that everybody needs to get along,” Winders said. “I talk to the adults about how sometimes when the children speak, we should listen a little more. It is one of my favorite pieces, and it has a great message.”

The group recently performed at Christmas on Main Street in Kenly and Friday night did a show at Wilson Botanical Gardens for Wilson Winter Lights.

All of those appearances will be practice for their annual holiday concert at the school on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students audition for the group that meets once a week after school.

Winders said it is kind of a reunion for her and some of the grandparents.

For many of them, their grandchildren came through the program.

“It becomes somewhat of a homecoming for me when I get to see some of the grandparents that I used to see in my performances when their children were here,” Winders said. “It is amazing. It becomes a very small world.”