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B-UHS Choir Director Jeremiah Smallridge recently received the green light for choir members to participate in the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, which will take place in Spring 2022 in Washington, D.C.

B-UHS Choir selected to sing at 100th anniversary of Lincoln Memorial dedication

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Choir recently received the green light from the Upshur County Board of Education to travel to the nation’s capital for the centennial anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial.

B-UHS Choral Director Jeremiah Smallridge and his choir students have been invited to represent West Virginia in Washington, D.C. in Spring 2022 to perform during the 100th Anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, which is quite an honor.

At their March 23 meeting, Upshur County BOE members approved the choir trip unanimously.

“We received a letter a few weeks ago inviting the choir to sing at the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial,” Smallridge said. “One choir from each state was selected for this honor. This will be in the Spring of 2022. The choir will travel to Washington, D.C. and perform with the mass choir at the Lincoln Memorial. In addition, they will also sing a specific West Virginia concert somewhere in D.C. that will be named at a later date. They will be labeled the West Virginia Ambassadors for the event and the trip will be four days long.”

Smallridge said his choir did not audition for selection to participate in the event, but rather, they were selected by those organizing the anniversary event. He said one choir has been selected from each state to participate – and for this event, his choir will serve as the West Virginia Ambassadors.

During his presentation to the Upshur County Board of Education, Smallridge said the Lincoln Memorial is one of the most iconic and majestic monuments in the nation’s capital and said it is uniquely trimmed with the inscription of each state in the nation.

“The Lincoln Memorial houses the statue of Abraham Lincoln and the inscription of the Second Inaugural and Gettysburg Addresses,” he said. “This memorial is also the site of the historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as many others in our nation’s history. The Lincoln Memorial, more than any other, is a reminder of the strength of a nation built on the foundation of liberty, unity and peace.”

“The folks from the Lincoln Memorial event said our choir was recommended to them,” Smallridge later told My Buckhannon. “They said they researched our past accomplishments before reaching out to us.”

Smallridge said the opportunity to participate in this upcoming event will be open for all B-UHS members, and he anticipates there will be 40 to 50 students who make the trek.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School Choir Members who were selected for the All-State Assemblies, including WV All-State Chorus members Elizabeth O’Neill, Victoria Adams, Ryanna Hines, Heather Humphrey, Kobe Hamrick, Ethan Lawrence and Patrick O’Neill and All-State Chamber Choir members Elizabeth O’Neill, Julianna Stark, Kobe Hamrick, Patrick O’Neill and Richard Williams, perform during Tuesday’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting. During this gathering, B-UHS Choir Director Jeremiah Smallridge received the green light for choir members to participate in the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial, which will take place in Spring 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Exact details of the event are still not completely ironed out, but Smallridge said the B-UHS Choir will most likely participate in two performances – one with all the other state choirs and one alone.

“I am not sure what music will be programmed for the large concert, but our small concert will feature songs about West Virginia,” Smallridge shared. “It will include ‘Country Roads’ and ‘My Home Among the Hills.’”

The excursion to Washington, D.C. and performing at the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial Dedication will also offer educational learning experiences for those participating.

“While there, students will have the opportunity to tour the Capitol Building, Ford’s Theatre, Arlington National Cemetery and the Peterson House along with a night tour of all the other monuments in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “Beyond that, they will also visit the National Zoo, the Smithsonian and the Holocaust Museum.”

This trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of the participants, and Smallridge said it will be costly. He said the B-UHS Choir members will be performing for donations.

“We will also be doing monthly fundraisers,” Smallridge said. “We will be seeking donations from private and corporate sponsors and will be depending on some donations from civic groups and organizations to make this trip possible.”

The B-UHS Choral members have been busy, despite the pandemic, he added. Smallridge said they have performed this year in a few virtual projects and said they also went Christmas caroling.

“We are planning more virtual projects, a live-streamed recital and possibly an outdoor concert,” Smallridge said. “Our last big honor was in 2018 when we were the West Virginia State Honor Choir. We have placed or won many local competitions. We also have large numbers of students successfully participating in All-State Assemblies, including WV All-State Chorus members Elizabeth O’Neill, Victoria Adams, Ryanna Hines, Heather Humphrey, Kobe Hamrick, Ethan Lawrence and Patrick O’Neill and All-State Chamber Choir members Elizabeth O’Neill, Julianna Stark, Kobe Hamrick, Patrick O’Neill and Richard Williams.”

This is Smallridge’s seventh year leading the choir at B-UHS. Before coming to the high school, he worked for seven years at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School after earning bachelor’s degrees from Glenville State and West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master’s degree from Shenandoah University. Smallridge is a National Board-Certified Teacher.

“I am very proud of the musicians in the Upshur County School System,” he said. “They work very hard and are some of the kindest folks you could meet. I always tell them they make me proud, and I know the future is in good hands.”

Those wishing to sponsor a student for the trip or donate to help with trip expenses may contact Smallridge by emailing jsmallridge@k12.wv.us.

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