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West Junior High School celebrates 50th anniversary with concert series

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 5:51 p.m. CST; updated 2:44 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 8, 2012

COLUMBIA — Music, current students, alumni and a reception: All are ways the music department of West Junior High School plans to celebrate the school's 50th anniversary.

The music department there has put together a concert series as a way to commemorate the milestone. The final two concerts in the series will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the school's gymnasium, 401 Clinkscales Road.

For the concert on Thursday, the eighth- and ninth-grade bands will play, as well as the Sinfonia Orchestra, Bella Voce Choir and Singer Select Choir.

On Saturday, the Viking Band, Camerata Orchestra, Delphian Choir and Madrigal Choir will perform.

Choir Director James Melton also has put together an alumni choir to perform Saturday. About 30 alumni will participate, he said.

"Most of them within the last five years have left West," Melton said. "But we have some people that have been here 10 or 15 years ago. We even have one person who was here when the building opened in 1962."

Band Director Tom Sweeney said previous band directors will come in to conduct a song for the final concert.

"For band, the three former directors — they're all retired — they're going to come and conduct a song," Sweeney said. "At least with the band, all three directors are available." The directors are Phil Wood, who was the director when the school opened, Don Rupp and Tim Baldwin.

A reception will follow the Saturday concert.

When planning started, the intent was to have a concert in which the top choir, band and orchestra were showcased. However, the concert series now includes 10 of the school's 11 ensembles: four bands, four choirs and two orchestras.

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Melton said the series is a good reflection of West Junior's history.

"We got started with the 50th anniversary and started coming up with ideas for events," Melton said. "People brought up the idea of a concert very quickly. A concert would be perfect because there has been a long history of music at West."

More information can be found on the Facebook page for the school's 50th anniversary celebration and the fine arts department's website.


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