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Student Tunes Fill State House Foyer

Barrington Middle School and Primrose Hill School students bring music and joy to loved ones and State House employees.

Young singers and musicians from Primrose Hill School and Barrington Middle School performed at the Rhode Island State House on Wednesday, Dec. 21, to the delight of family, friends, and State House employees.

According to Dan Kahn, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts education assistant, the holiday performance at the State House every year draws more than 2,600 students from almost 50 schools. This year's concert series began right after Thanksgiving and continues through Friday, Dec. 23.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the kids to get experience as performers in a big accoustic space," said Kahn. "We hear from the employees in the building that they really love it!"

The middle school students first began performing yearly at the State House around eight years ago, according to Barrington Middle School chorus director  Kerri Thurber. She discovered the opportunity through the Rhode Island Music Educator Association website.

Thurber started rehearsals with her chorus students as soon as school began in September. Band students also began rehearsals with band director Dail Bienkiewicz when the new school year started, and played a wonderful selection of music after the chorus was finished singing.

Seventh-grade student Tim Hecker, who has been playing baritone saxophone since fifth grade, said he was pleased to have the opportunity to play at the State House this year for the first time.

"Band is one of my favorite things, so it's cool to be able to come out and do this," said Tim.

Prior to the middle school performances, students from Primrose Hill School's third-grade chorus entertained a sizeable crowd with holiday tunes both merry and moving. This was the school's second year of performing at the venue, and the singers filled one side of the grand staircase where the State House Christmas tree graces the foyer of the building.

Valerie Williams, a parent, said her son, Maxwell, was very excited that morning when preparing for the concert.

"He was wondering whether to wear his bow tie or his regular tie. He settled on the regular tie," said Williams.

"Then he told me, 'I'm going to have an omelette for breakfast, so I can have a lot of energy'," she said.

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