Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Singing At ZHS

By , 18 January, 2010, 1 Comment

“Get Along Home Cindy—Cindy!”

On Friday, May 22nd, 2009, ZHS Show Choir and ZHS Chorus presented a spectacular presentation under the direction of music teacher and alumni, Luan Gore. All the guests were welcomed by the new Principal, Steve Van Gorden, who graciously shook hands with everyone!

The hour and a half performance was truly a show to behold. The Show Choir, a rather new innovation at ZHS, did several numbers with intricate choreography designed and taught by volunteer, Robert Hughes, a 1973 ZHS alumni.  Dance routines included a hoe down and a 1920’s flapper rendition with parasols.  The audience enjoyed seeing the group in synchronization as they did a range of steps from the Charleston to the Virginia reel in rhythm to their singing. The array of songs  included: folk song, Cindy, Coney Island Baby/We All Fall; Flying Free, Bye Bye Blackbird, Speechless, Dance Today With Joy, Today is Yours and Mine; Fugue for Fast Food; Michael Row The Boat Ashore; I Don’t Know Why I Just Do; Lean On Me and Shout Glory.

Student soloists with various parts imbedded in the group presentations included: Kacey Morehouse, Matthew Myers, Danielle Warren, Alicia Wirth, Rachel Wise, and Christian Moyer.

The Show Choir also did two numbers a-cappella which they had learned from a recent workshop on Barbershop singing that they attended.  Well done, Luan and ZHS students. (See the photo of the ZHS chorus included with the article).

Zephyrhills HIgh Chorus

Zephyrhills HIgh Chorus

Now, for some history. ZHS had many Glee Clubs throughout its history.  Imagine and remember the melodious singing throughout nearly 100 years! Glee Clubs provided not only musical education but community amusement. At the 1956 and 1957 ZHS Baccalaureates, then music teacher Alice Zimmerman conducted students in religious songs, “God Be With You Until We Meet Again,” and “Halls of Ivy.” The 1954 graduating class enjoyed three community adult soloists, Mrs. Roy Beddingfield, Mrs. Charles Campbell, and Mrs. P.H. Murphy, Jr. who sang along with the Z.H.S. Glee Club.  The end-of-the year Glee Club’s recital in 1947 was described by the News as follows,

“A fine program was given at the local high school auditorium last Friday evening by the students of the high school music department under the direction of Miss Hoffman, Supervisor. Frank Hanson, President of the ZHS Glee Club, acted as Master of Ceremonies with students, Jean McGavern playing a piano solo and Barbara Sabin, a violin solo accompanied by Martha Mae Keller.

The News reported in April, 1942 that Mrs. Mildred Byrd, Director, promised a good performance from the Glee Club and for 15 cents you could see the Glee Club’s Musical Comedy, Pickles. In 1940, ZHS Glee Club presented the Operetta, The Belle of Bagdad, while in 1939, the News reported,

“You have a chance to see this story in action with good music in ‘Hollywood Extra,’ with several new voices being introduced in the operetta with sparkling humor.”

In 1938, the Glee Club appeared to be gender-specific with the Girls’ ZHS Glee Club entertaining at that year’s graduation.

Luan Gore did a sensational job with directing the 2009 Friday night performance and certainly carried on the tradition.  Miss Gore herself, has quite a tradition at ZHS as well.  A 1977 graduate, she was the school’s first woman drum major after a three decade lapse. When she was selected drum major in from among coordinator by C. Paul Steuart and John T.V. Clark, Luan said:

“I’m thrilled to death and I’m looking forward to boosting up the spirit of the band next year. I’m also really glad to bring back Drum Majorette.”

Our previous documentation of a female drum major at ZHS goes back to 1939 when we found several articles about Irene Hohenthaner as drum major and Irene’s work in leading a variety of community parades through town to advance the knowledge of the dreaded infantile paralysis (polio) as a community effort at a critical time in the community.

Could Luan have known in 1976 that she would have an opportunity to ‘pay it forward?’ One wonders? Thanks Luan for carrying on the tradition not only as a pioneering lady Drum Major but in imparting your knowledge and talent to a new generation of performers!

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on May 28, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

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