Updated: March 3, 2014 3:53PM
If you enjoy going to songfests or concerts, please put a circle around Sunday, Feb. 16, and come listen to the wonderful harmony and voices of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club at 2 p.m. in the Valparaiso High School auditorium.
These talented young men will wow you with their performance, and you’ll leave humming and skipping along after such a delightful afternoon.
It is a very special year for Bryce Shaffer, a Valparaiso High School graduate, who has been a member of the glee club throughout his college career. As a senior, he was given the opportunity to choose a place to host a show, and he chose his homeground by coming back to his roots in Porter County.
The Valpo High Choir Boosters, led by Amanda Fetch, are sponsoring this very special afternoon.
These outstanding young men could all be professional singers — they are that good! This past summer they performed in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France, including at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
And because of their superb musical abilities, the men were invited to and sang at the Presidential Inauguration last year. They have got to be a top, talented group to get that kind of attention. Those experiences also have to be the epitome of a college career.
What makes this so extra special is that Bryce’s mom, Debbie, is a teacher at Valparaiso High School, and he will be bringing her on stage to serenade her, and then place the glee club necklace (lavaliere) around her neck as the most important woman in his life.
Even as I share this with you, it gets me teary-eyed. A tribute like that to any parent has to be one of the greatest gifts ever received, and we can share in that.
Tickets for the Feb. 16 performance are $15 for adults and $12 for students if purchased before Feb. 16. Tickets will be $20 at the door, and even that’s a bargain. It is twice the price at many performances.
Tickets are available at the Memorial Opera House, Front Porch Music, Vale Park Animal Hospital, Gratz Piano and Tudor Floors and Carpet. Or you can email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements to pick up your tickets at the high school.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the VHS Concert Choir, which, by special invitation, will be performing at Carnegie Hall in June, where they will be combined with collegiate and professional performers under the direction of world-renowned conductor John Rutter from Great Britain. Perhaps they’ll even sing a number at the Purdue performance.
Maybe you cheer for Chesterton, Portage, Valpo, Kouts, Hebron, Morgan or Washington Township schools, but next Friday night, Feb. 7, the basketball game to be at is happening at Wheeler High School.
Although most of the fans will be cheering for the Bearcats or the visiting Boone Grove Wolves, the halftime game will be the coolest. (OK, maybe I’m a little prejudiced.)
That game will be played by unified Special Olympics teams, whose players are both Special Olympics athletes and their partners. It is a chance for the players to show their sports talent, and a time for the rest of us to realize that having a “special need” does not make you different, but much more the same.
The first thing most people will notice is that they won’t be able to “tell” who’s the Special Olympics athlete and who’s the partner. And that is just as it should be!
Wheeler Principal Don Gandy is as excited about this as any other game, or maybe even a little more. As a member of the IHSAA board, he is especially happy to be part of the new partnership between Special Olympics and the IHSSA, which will give the guys and girls who happen to have a special needs the same opportunities and recognition for their accomplishments as any other student athlete.
My hope is that all the spectators stay in their seats at halftime to cheer on the representatives of the best group of athletes I know — Porter County Special Olympians. And I also hope every school in our county wants to get their special needs students involved in Special Olympics. A call to 465-1323 will get the ball rolling.
While I’m on that subject, I hope you don’t mind if I tout a few other young men. Our athletes work very hard to be the best they can be, and some of them are realizing the accolades that come with that work ethic.
Our unified Flag Football team will be going to Princeton, N.J., to represent S.O. Indiana; our unified golf pair and bowling pair will join them, and one of our swimmers will splash his way to glory too.
I’ll be telling you more about them when our weather turns around and we get closer to June. If you’d like to help with our expenses, and don’t mind “Freezin’ for a Reason,” please call Chuck at the Valparaiso University Security Police, and ask for a Polar Plunge pledge form — or even send in a donation (and indicate it is to sponsor our national games athletes).
Then I hope you have a great day because you deserve it. Thanks for reading. Fly your flag.