Patriotism Alive And Well At Rim Country Middle School

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Harmonizing voices of young choir students filled the air with the nations most recognizable patriotic tune.

School administrators and parents gathered at Rim Country Middle School Friday to hear the school choir sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in celebration of National Anthem Project Day.

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Chelsee Cassella, Brooke Collins, Jacob Crofts, Jared Fleischaker, Anya Klausner, Brianna McNamara, Iris Molina, Adrianna Moore, Skylar Murray, Amanda Olvera-Herrera and Christian Wright, (names not in order) ring out patriotic tunes on the handbells at Friday's ceremony.

Following the "Star-Spangled Banner," music students playing handbells also entertained parents and visitors by playing patriotic tunes.

Rim Country Middle School music teacher, Karen Phylo said the hand-bell students insisted on participating in Friday's ceremonies.

"We have done the handbells in connection with the National Anthem Day Project for the past two years," she said.

"It is not normally a performance class, but they've been doing so well and they get so excited that they wanted to participate, too."

Phylo said this is the third year the school has participated in the National Anthem Day Project.

"The purpose of the school's involvement in the National Anthem Day Project is to illuminate the need for music in our schools and to support local music education," Phylo said.

She said educators and schools across the United States coordinated schedules, so that students would be singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the same time.

"It is a nationwide movement and there would be kids singing all over the United States at nine o'clock local time," Phylo said.

She said the choir and hand-bell students have been practicing the verses for months in preparation for Friday.

"They're a little overwhelmed by the words to the "Star-Spangled Banner," Phylo said.

"I do teach them three of the four verses, but I don't teach them the third verse because we became friends with the British after the war of 1812 and it wouldn't be appropriate to include it now," Phylo said.

"But their question is how come they (Congress) picked a song that's so hard to sing?" she said.

"And that's a question even legislators have wrestled with over the years, so, it's a reasonable request, but that's all the more reason we need to teach it," Phylo said.

The song was not originally written as lyrics.

Francis Scott Key wrote the "Star-Spangled Banner" as a poem on Sept. 14, 1814.

He never knew it would eventually be set to music and become the national anthem of the United States.

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Ashley Anglemire, Heather Buchanan, Heather Dashney, Julia Hale, Destiney Henning, Marlisa Lux, Anna and Deisha McDowell, Randee Nelson, Emily Price, Harmony Walker and Jaelynn Weller sing the national anthem at Rim Country Middle School Friday, as "Old Glory" is displayed behind them.

"We talk about the history of the flag, and particularly the history of the flag flown at Fort McHenry, they know a lot of information about it," Phylo said.

The National Anthem Project began in 2005 by MENC, the National Association for Music Education, to raise awareness of the importance of music education in the United States.

According to MENC, 61 percent of American citizens don't know the words to the national anthem.

"Three in four Americans say school is where they learned the anthem and other patriotic songs.

"In fact, music class is where students learn key elements of American history and tales of United States heritage. Yet, the survey showed that only 39 percent of Americans could complete the third line of the ‘Star Spangled Banner' correctly with "... through the perilous fight," the MENC Web site said.

Rim Country Middle School choir student Ashley Anglemire said it's important for people to know the national anthem, its history, and what it stands for.

"Not many people in our country know the ‘Star-Spangled Banner' any more," she said.

"It's been sung throughout the years and to honor our country and we want to make sure that people know our national anthem."

Anglemire said that because of the United States involvement in conflicts overseas at the present time, it is particularly important to be aware of the song.

"We're all part of this country and we want to make the point that we need to show support for the people who are fighting for us right now," Englemeyer said.

The Daughters of the American Revolution are also celebrating History of Constitution Week from Sept. 17 through Sept. 21 to help raise awareness of the Stars-and-Stripes, its history and the U.S. Constitution.

The Mogollon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was at the Payson Public Library Monday handing out literature and speaking to people about the Constitution.

Jo Patterson, press secretary for DAR, said they want to help increase awareness of the Constitution in general and to educate people on their rights under the Constitution.

"It's important for citizens to know what protections, rights and responsibilities they have under our laws," she said.

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