World Language Choirs Tour Scott County to Spread Holiday Cheer

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  • The highlight of the show is the taiko drum performance. Drummers from left to right included Angie Chaparro, Colin Adams, Alex Johnson and Sierra Roman.

    Sydney Fitzpatrick

  • Visiting elementary and middle schools in Scott County is one way that foreign languages are promoted to future high school students.

    Sydney Fitzpatrick

  • The sounds of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" filled the air in front of Georgetown's Christmas tree on December 12, 2018.

    Sydney Fitzpatrick

  • Students performed "O Christmas Tree," "Feliz Navidad" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

    Sydney Fitzpatrick

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For the past 12 years, Scott County High School’s world language choirs have entertained many through their performances. The choirs consist of students enrolled in German, French, Spanish, and Japanese, and they focus on singing Christmas songs, but in the language they are working to acquire.  In addition to the songs, Japanese students compliment with choirs with a group of students on the taiko drums, a traditional instrument of Japan.

On Tuesday, December 11th, 2018, the World Language choirs, led by Germany instructor Lucas Gravitt, visited Western Elementary School, Georgetown Middle School, Royal Springs Middle School, and Scott County Middle School.  The choirs also stopped at the Scott County Courthouse to sing for community members in front of Georgetown’s Christmas tree. During each show, the various foreign language choirs presented their songs, accompanied by videos to promote their language to future high school students.

Junior Coye Bays, a student studying German, enjoyed performing for younger students.  “One big thing that I enjoyed Tuesday while touring the middle schools and Western elementary was the interest that the kids had.  They were for the most part very respectful and interested in the performance. They seemed to like hearing something [a language] they’ve never heard before.”

Some of the songs selected by the choirs are well-known, like Feliz Navidad, a pop song by Jose Feliciano, and O’Tannenbaum, the German equivalent of O’ Christmas Tree. Even the Japanese version of Merry Christmas is “recognizable in many countries around the world, and it’s easy for students to sing, so they remember it better,” Japanese instructor Chris Conner said.

Although the choirs are meant to promote their specific language, there are other positives to forming them and giving students an opportunity to sing on tour.  Gravitt said, “The most beneficial aspect of the choirs for our students is getting them to learn songs, discover new words and grammatical constructions, and have a little fun with it too.” Having to perform the songs for a live audience motivates students to focus on the technical aspects of learning a new language.

Students recognized other benefits to this experience as well.  “I feel as if this better prepares me for my trip to Berlin this coming June. Music is a good way to better yourself in the language you’re speaking, although it may seem weird, and you can’t understand everything it still makes you better as a speaker and it better prepares you for any interaction you may encounter,” said Bays.

The performances also offer a chance to students to spend some extra time together, which develops and strengths the relationships between both students and teachers.  Conner said, “Students in Japanese tend to be pretty tight-knit, so the choir is another opportunity to get together outside of class.”