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All together now

"It was nippy and a bit blustery Thursday afternoon. Not exactly the best conditions for singing outdoors. But standing on the occasionally breezy beach at Deception Pass, students in the special choir at Oak Harbor's Broad View Elementary School gleefully sang out about the joys of living on an island. Everybody gather 'round, listen to that island sound. Come along and dance with me. Hear the music by the sea, they sang, from a song entitled Calypso, Calypso. If things work out, a few months from now they may be able to see their performance played back on national TV during the World's Largest Concert broadcast over Public Broadcasting Service and Armed Forces Radio and TV Network stations.It's a big deal, said Broad View music teacher Sandy Pease. Schools across the country and the world will all be singing at the same time. We were selected to be videotaped for possible inclusion.A crew, provided through the school's partnership with the Whidbey Island Naval Air Reserve, shot the video of the kid's presentation Thursday using the Deception Pass Bridge as a backdrop. It was all part of the 17th annual World's Largest Concert, a program airing March 8 to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month. It's sponsored by the Music Educators National Conference.As the program is broadcast, school children from all over the world will be tuned in and singing along, led by a choir and orchestra at Walt Disney World in Florida. During the broadcast, video clips of many school choirs will be shown, including, with luck, Broad View's.Pease said there are no guarantees that the Broad View kids will finally end up in the show, and even if they do it will probably only be for 15 seconds or less. But she thinks the fact that the school has such a large population of students from military families, combined with the appropriateness of the song and the picturesque location, should give them a good chance of making the final cut.I don't see any reason why they won't, unless we're just awful, she said.That's not likely to be a problem. The 97-member choir, made up of kids from second- through fifth-grade, was well-rehearsed and performed the song several times to get it just right. The kids' enthusiasm was very evident as they added hand gestures and dancing to their performance. They often kept the song going even between takes.Since the recording of the performance had to be shot in a professional video format, the cooperation of the Navy's Media Services division was an important element in getting Broad View into the competition. Pease said the next big moment will happen March 8 when the show is actually broadcast. At that time, the school will bring in a big-screen TV and the entire student body will sing along. She said the performance can be a moving experience for the kids.It was amazing last year when we did it, she said. It was almost a spiritual thing because they felt the connection with kids from around the world.The school will videotape the broadcast, which happens at about 10 a.m. Whidbey time, and will play it back and sing again for an evening concert later the same day. "

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