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River Magic Chorus presents 'Graduation Day'

Apr. 24, 2011 @ 10:00 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The auditorium of the old Huntington High School will once again be filled with "students" in cap and gown at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, when the River Magic Chorus of Sweet Adelines, International presents "Graduation Day," a musical journey into the memories of school days, young love and graduation.

Among the women in the chorus, Ila Lee Drown, Julie Taylor and Sandy Craig actually attended classes in the original Huntington High School.

"I sang 'Climb Every Mountain' with the Glee Club at my graduation," Taylor said.

"I still have my old high school jacket," Craig added.

Songs being performed at the show will include "You'll Never Walk Alone," "Graduation Day," "A Whole New World" plus many other popular tunes.

Norma Wilson, a baritone in the chorus, has special memories associated with the song "You'll Never Walk Alone." Growing up in Alberta, Canada, she frequently performed solos in her school's talent shows.

"I remember when I sang this song on stage, my voice didn't shake, but my legs sure did," she said. "It made my high heels tap through the entire song."

The director of River Magic is Beverly Miller, a graduate of Meigs High School in Ohio. She recalled her high school class picked out a special theme song for the senior year "Stairway to Heaven."

Now working as a pediatric nurse, Carrie Baisden graduated from Wayne High School in 2005. She recalls playing basketball up through her senior year and performing as a band member during graduation. Baritone, Peggy Napier, also graduated from Wayne High.

Flatwoods, Ky., resident Sharon Nicholas fondly recalled her years at Russell High School where she was involved in chorus and band.

"Band was great," she said. Happy memories included sock hops, prom and riding to school in a friend's convertible Studebacher from the 1930s. "The convertible top was rotted off, but I thought it was the greatest."

Another native of Kentucky, Rose Willis smiles as she talks about her high school graduation.

"I didn't want to become valedictorian or salutatorian, so I intentionally put wrong answers on a test to lower my grade," she said. "That way I didn't have to make a speech at commencement."

Not all schools were typical. Doris Mullins relates how she attended high school in Portsmouth, Va., graduating with the class of 1944.

"Classes were held in community sections that were built for the children of the workers at the Naval Shipyard," she said. Their parents were constructing ships for the WW II effort. "I remember studying airplane dynamics in one class."

Probably the most remarkable graduation ceremony was experienced by Carol Spence of Ashland. She tells of two boys in her senior class who were lucky to have survived a car crash earlier that spring. They received their diplomas from their hospital beds which were on the graduation stage.

High school memories for Marcia Daoust included working on the yearbook and building floats for the homecoming parade. "But my favorite graduation memories are from when I was a parent and my children graduated from high school and college," she said.

River Magic hopes to awaken happy memories with the "Graduation Day" show and encourages anyone in the audience to come to the show with memorabilia from their own school days. Tickets may be obtained from members by calling 740-894-3708, 304-733-5867 or 304-529-4406 or purchased at the door in the The Renaissance Center, locate at the corner of 8th Street and 9th Avenue. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and free for children in kindergarten or younger.

River Magic Chorus is a women's barbershop-style chorus with 36 members. Membership is open to women 18 years or older, who reside in Kentucky, Ohio or West Virginia. For more information, visit www.rivermagicchorus.org.