The Beginning and Intermediate Guitar students of Hughes Middle School performed their skills last Thursday for over 100 family members and friends.
The Beginning Guitar Ensemble performed 11 songs ranging from Johnny Cash to Roy Orbison hits, including some vocal talents from several of the students.
There was one additional song, “Asturias,” that was performed by 12 select students who learned it well enough at the end of the term to perform for the audience. The talents of Evelin Alarcon-Gonzalez, Cassidy Frehner, Taua Fiso, Ally Wright, Spence Cox, Stetson Ludvigson, Booker Wakefield, Ethan Wescoatt, Taylor Marshall, Alyssa Ponce, Emma Tobler and Enecia Salas stunned the crowd. The remaining students joined in for their final song of the year, “Pretty Woman.”
The Advanced Guitar Ensemble took the stage next, performing six songs that were more challenging and had a more intricate design including “Hallelujah” (written by Leonard Cohen) and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song.
The night was not over after the Advanced Group’s performance, however, as the HMS Guitar Instructor, Jeri Lynn Benell, had made a somber but exciting announcement to the crowd inbetween the Beginning and Advanced groups’ performances.
“This will be my last performance at the Middle School. As most of you know, I split my time between here and the High School,” Benell said. “Starting next year, I will be at the High School full time, and Mr. [William] Rhoden will be teaching here full time.”
The school’s principal, Maurice Perkins, approached the stage afterwards and acknowledged the achievements of Benell, as she had been with HMS since the school opened. The crowd joined Perkins with a standing ovation, showing their gratitude and appreciation for the hard work and dedication that was evident in the students’ performances.