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Great Bend Senior Center hears music from USD 428
The Great Bend High School Madrigal Pop Singers entertain an audience at the Senior Center on Wednesday morning. Great Bend USD 428 hosted a coffee with refreshments and music throughout the morning, showcasing the vocal talents of students from several grades and schools. - photo by Susan Thacker

The music was almost nonstop Wednesday at the Senior Center when the Great Bend Unified School District 428 brought students to sing. The school district also provided coffee and coffee cake for the annual showcase of its vocal music programs.

USD 428 Public Information Director Andrea Bauer said they weren’t able to host the coffee last year because of the pandemic.

“It’s been a long-standing tradition for the district and we’re grateful we were able to host it again this year,” Bauer said.

Kindergartners from Lincoln Elementary performed a few of their favorites from their music curriculum, all animal-inspired, including “Five Speckled Frogs” and “BINGO.” Their music teacher is Sharon Jelinek.

Jefferson Elementary’s fifth and sixth graders, led by teacher Cassidy Childs, offered country songs from past and present, including the traditional “Shenandoah” and Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country.” But it was John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” that brought a tear to the eye of audience member Jan Reynolds, a long-time Denver fan.

“What a wonderful morning,” Reynolds said between programs.

Audience members, including regulars at the Senior Center as well as students’ parents and USD 428 staff, were recording the songs on their wireless devices – with one woman working on two recordings at once.

Next up were the fifth and sixth graders from Park Elementary. Their teacher, Marlene Regehr, explained how the students in this age group learn to harmonize as they did numbers such as “Sing All Together” and Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

Great Bend Middle School’s Music in Motion members audition to be in this group. Their teacher, JoAnn Suchy, said they meet at 7 a.m. three times a week. Dressed in black, with the boys sporting red neckties, the students offered some early Christmas music, including “Carol of the Bells” and a mash-up for “Frosty the Snowman” and “Hand Jive,” called “Frosty and the Hand Jive.”

Great Bend High School’s Madrigal Pop Singers performed three songs from their fall concert earlier this year, finishing with “I’m Still Standing” by Bernie Taupin and Elton John. Instructor Susan Stambaugh said soon they’ll be making holiday appearances with Christmas music, and invited the public to attend the annual Vespers Concert on Dec. 12 and the GBHS vocal music Christmas concert on Dec. 13.

The Madrigal Pops Singers’ accompanist was Lindsay Luttrell.

Carla Marcovich, a retired elementary music teacher and volunteer, helped run the sound system.