• Editor’s Note: The following stories appeared in the November edition of the Cornjerker Times, a monthly publication produced by Hoopeston Area Middle School students.

Cheerleaders Cheer On

By Alex McClure

The Hoopeston Area Middle School cheerleaders are preparing to bring the spirit however the sports year will turn out.

What are the cheerleaders going to be doing in cheerleading? HAMS Cheerleading Coach Mrs. Young said, “We will focus on learning and perfecting sideline cheers.”

HAMS cheerleaders practice at two or three times a week to develop their skills.

Mrs. Young said hopefully the cheerleaders can have as normal of a year as possible.

“It is important to have some sort of normalcy in the chaos of the pandemic, so we will do the things we normally do to prepare for our season, while socially distancing and wearing masks, of course,” she said.

This year is not normal at all, but the cheerleaders are cheering the way through with happiness and excitement.

Band Plays Through

By Maddie Barnes

HAMS Concert Band Director Mrs. Mandel is always excited to see the joy music brings.

She says she is looking forward to the Christmas concert in December. Students have been improving and getting better. The concert band has been learning more challenging things like more difficult notes and tones. Mrs. Mandel can’t wait to hear them perform at the concert!

The students enjoy when composers come in and work with them, and it always brings a smile to their faces! The composers teach them proper positions, proper playing posture, how to put reeds on and how to properly take care of an instrument. This experience also makes the band better, and they perform a lot better together.

Mrs. Mandel says students who go above and beyond, and the ones who practice on daily everyday are immaculate! It makes them a better player and it makes them look good.

The ones who practice for at least 1-2 hours a day are going to be great players and are going to go far in participating in the band. Overall, they are doing great, and Mrs. Mandel can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

COVID Sings a Different Tune

By Lillian Lanter

Covid may be changing how HAMS chorus performs, but the songs do play on.

Due to social distancing and some remote learning time, HAMS chorus and show choir director Mr. Sperry said he’s found ways to continue to work with singers.

During remote learning time, chorus members have done private lessons.

“Private vocal lessons were only during our time in quarantine. What made them valuable was the one-on-one time I was given with each student. During middle school, students’ voices are going through one of their largest

changes. Not only does the voice physically change, but how the student hears changes, too, due to the voice. All of this is to say that having one-on-one attention allows for me to guide each student through their unique vocal changes. Many students found the private lessons to be fairly valuable,” Mr. Sperry said.

Vocal lessons can help maintain interest in music, Mr. Sperry said.

“In my own personal experience, students lose interest in music for a few reasons. One can be a lack of understanding and another could be discomfort. Lessons allow me to better understand the students individual strengths and areas that need improvement. With lessons, we will build confidence and knowledge which will not only

benefit the performance of music, but the confidence as well,” said Mr. Sperry.

This year, the high school and middle school show choir members will perform together, in place of a competition season.

“A large majority of students in high school have been involved with music for more than two years. This gives them quite a bit of experience that middle school students have not yet received. Having high school students guide the middle school students will allow them to be supported and given more individualized attention. In addition, middle school students will have the opportunity to learn more advanced skills while giving the high school students the opportunity to lead,” said Mr. Sperry.

Band Makes Music

By Katelynn Makemson

What is the Hoopeston Area Middle School band doing this fall? Will there be any concerts this year? Well in this month’s story, Mr. Kurk, HAMS band director, answers your questions.

Will there be any concerts this year?

“We’re currently planning to have a concert in December. Because of the two week remote learning period we had to cancel our Fall Concert. However, we’re going to continue working on that music and present it along with a few Christmas songs at our Christmas concert in December,” said Mr. Kurk. “Right now we’re planning to post our Fall/Winter/Semester Concert on Dec. 13. However, as with all of our other plans, we’re going to have to be flexible with that date!”

What songs are the HAMS band practicing?

“The HAMS band is practicing ‘Spy Games’ and ‘Falcon Fanfare.’ We are also beginning preparations for our first song for the Christmas Concert which is ‘Carol of the Bells,’” Mr. Kurk said.

Are the band members learning fast?

“| think they are doing a great job learning music. Because of the adjusted schedule, we have less than half the rehearsal time we had last year. Despite the lack of time, both groups are still on pace to present a full concert later in the semester,” said Mr. Kurk.

Variety maintains interest.

“Since we play a variety of music, band members always end up with some songs they enjoy more than others. One of my goals is to expose our students to a variety of music, including some things they may not have been familiar with before.”

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