Cathedral starts first high school choir

Published 11:44 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NATCHEZ — Students at Cathedral High School are making noise — a joyful noise.

For the first time in the school’s history a high school choir has been formed.

School administrators decided to offer the class as an option for earning a credit in fine arts.

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But students in the choir don’t really care why the class was added, they just like to sing.

“It’s really an emotional release,” said Mary LaFrancis, a student in the choir. “Singing is just a natural thing.”

Alvin Shelby, Cathedral’s music director, said the addition of a choir fills a great need in the school.

“Students got really excited when they heard about this,” Shelby said. “Expanding fine arts was a good move.”

Principal Pat Sanguinetti said he wanted to expand art programs.

“Art is more than just drawing. And we want to offer the students as much diversity as we can.

“For a long time he (Shelby) wanted a choir, and when the time came to offer it he jumped.”

“This really takes away from the strict academic part of the day, it’s a good brake in the day,” said student Grant Benoit. “And it’s good for the lungs.”

Benoit said he grew up in a very musical household and he relishes the chance to have any type of musical opportunity at school.

“This is not like my other classes,” student Anne Elise Rinehart, said.

“This gets more variety for students, it gives students more involved,” she said. “We get to mix music and academics.”

And while choir students get the benefit of mixed curriculum, the school gets the benefit of a choir.

Shelby has been putting his choir to good use at school masses and assemblies. “They are such a welcomed addition to our school functions,” Shelby said.

On Nov. 3, Cathedral’s choir will participate in the Youth Praise Explosion, an event geared toward highlighting positive aspects of the young community.