The Ottumwa Courier

September 12, 2013

Seton singers take center stage

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — The singers have received a request and agreed to perform on stage at Bridge View Center.

The national touring group Broadway Boys has invited the Seton Catholic School's Children’s Choir to help with a number during their performance next Saturday, Sept. 21.

Ottumwa parents have called the announcement "awesome," and the choir director says it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

"It's going to happen, and we're making plans," said Seton music teacher Tom Shadonix. "We're starting rehearsals."

"If you don't practice, you might mess up," explained Bailey Johnson, 9. "We're going to sing a little bit of their song, but they're going to sing most of it."

Even with the part Seton is responsible for, there isn't a lot of time to waste. Permission slips to parents went home this week, and many have been signed and returned already.

"Larry Gawronski from Bridge View talked to me at church on Sunday," Shadonix explained.

Gawronski, the event center executive director, asked if the children would like to sing with a professional musical act.

"I told him we could do that and asked how long I had: 'A month, six weeks?'"

Nope. The Saturday after next. The Seton teacher gulped, then agreed. It's not every day an opportunity like that "gets dropped in our lap," he said.

Are the children nervous?

"I don't really have stage fright," said Bailey, a fourth-grader. "I like going on stage."

"The neat thing about kids is they say, 'Oh, we're [just] singing with some [guys] at Bridge View.'"

It's different for Shadonix.

"Are you kidding? I know everything [that] could go wrong."

The Broadway Boys have a CD out and have performed on national television. They've got a sophisticated sound, Shadonix said. In fact, the music he just received looks complex.

"It's called 'Seasons of Love,'" Shadonix said. "What the Boys are doing is remarkable.

But since it's these particular students, he's not as worried. This is the same children's choir that performed on stage last year to provide voices for a powerful, orchestral piece at Bridge View Center.

"Carmina Burana," recalled Bailey when asked the title of the German composition that includes lyrics in Latin. "I like singing."

Shadonix says he's helped Seton students improve, but that's about it.

"I wish I could take credit for how good they are, but these kids come in the door knowing how to sing — and how to sing well."

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark