Thursday, September 21, 2006
Byhalia K-6 students celebrate Anthem
By SUE WATSON
By their participation in the National Anthem Project, Thursday, Byhalia Elementary and Middle School students made a musical statement and became an All Star School for the year 2006.
The National Anthem Day Project was put together by the Music Educators National Conference to teach students the National Anthem and some history about the War of 1812 and the author of the anthem, Francis Scott Key.
“We have a lot of students who do not know the National Anthem,” said James C. Farris, music instructor for Byhalia Elementary and Middle School. “This is our first project for the year and we will be all singing across the nation at the same time locally.”
Byhalia Elementary and Middle School has not had a choral music class in several years.
“This is our first performance in many years,” he said. “My job is to train these kids to be ready for the Byhalia Concert Choir program.”
Farris meets with each class in K-6 once a week. This is his first year with the Byhalia school.
Sonya Cross, who recently moved from assistant principal of K-8 to principal of K-4 at Byhalia Elementary, said she believes Byhalia is the only school in the county that participated in the Anthem Project this year.
“We’re leading the way,” she said.
Kerry Reid is principal of Byhalia Middle School - grades five through eight.
He said approximately 900 students in K-6 participated in the National Anthem Project at the school.
Farris added, “This is a good start. They learned a little history, talked about the War of 1812 and how Key was moved to write the National Anthem while being captive aboard a ship.”
Key wrote the verses while aboard a ship during the night of September 13, 1814, at a dramatic moment in the nation’s history when the British navy was attacking Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.
A Washington attorney, Key was inspired by the reliance of American troops. The verses officially became the National Anthem in 1931 by legislation enacted by Congress.
After the war, Key served as a United States District Attorney and his brother-in-law, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, administered the oath of office in 1861 to President Abraham Lincoln.
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