Musical chairs continues in local schools

Concert is Tyson’s last at RMS, set to replace Price at Richmond Senior

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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ROCKINGHAM — For the second time this week, the choir took the limelight off the band. And once again, it had nothing to do with how well either played.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Debbie Price concluded 40 years in education, including the past 17 years at Richmond Senior High School, earlier this week. On Thursday John Tyson’s career at Rockingham Middle School came to a close after the 2014 Winter Holiday Showcase. Tyson, in his fifth year of teaching, will take over for Price at Richmond Senior when students return Jan. 5 from the holiday break.

As passionate as Tyson, a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and recipient of the Cole Foundation Arts Scholarship, is about music, he cares even more about the children he’s seen progress over the past few years. The Rockingham native struggled to speak as he read from letters written by students who mentioned how much music meant to them and how Tyson had made a difference in their lives.

The solace, of course, is that students at Rockingham Middle School today will likely see Tyson in a few short years and once again have their favorite choral director.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com John Tyson conducted his final performance as director of the Rockingham Middle School choir Thursday night. He's been appointed to take over for the retiring Debbie Price at Richmond Senior High School when students return from holiday.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
John Tyson conducted his final performance as director of the Rockingham Middle School choir Thursday night. He’s been appointed to take over for the retiring Debbie Price at Richmond Senior High School when students return from holiday.

That wasn’t the only finale Thursday night inside the Kate Finley Auditorium. Principal Julian Carter is set to start his new job as executive director of human resources at the district’s central office in Hamlet after the holiday break. The promotion, announced Friday after the school board’s regular monthly meeting, comes at a time when the district faces a significant teacher shortage. It’ll be Carter’s job to help fill those slots — and work to keep them once they’re here.

Dr. Wendy Jordan, in the audience, is scheduled to take his place. Her successor, Kate Smith, served as assistant principal Thursday night but will take over as principal at Mineral Springs Elementary School in Ellerbe in the new year.

The one-hour and 45-minute performance featured the combined seventh- and eighth grade band, the sixth grade choir, the seventh grade choir, the eighth grade choir and the guitar ensemble. Just before the start, Carter demonstrated to parents and family members who filled the auditorium to capacity — with many more standing outside into the lobby — his excitement about what was ahead.

“Tonight is a celebration of your child,” Carter said. “You are going to be delighted.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

In between numbers and changing of sets for the different groups, Carter encouraged parents to look at the students’ artwork on display in the lobby and in the cafeteria one floor below. Proceeds from a silent auction were to benefit the school’s fine arts program, coordinated by Ashley Garguilo.

Stephanie Spradlin contributed to this report.

Photo by Judith Hamilton John Tyson takes a bow with the Rockingham Middle School choir.

Photo by Judith Hamilton
John Tyson takes a bow with the Rockingham Middle School choir.

 

Filed in: Arts & Entertainment, Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Rockingham

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