WILMINGTON – Thanksgiving was still almost a week away, but members of St. Ann’s School’s Children’s Choir were clearly thinking about Turkey Day. The dozen or so students gave up lunch recess to rehearse their song for the Thursday’s 6ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It will be the fourth consecutive year the group has participated in the parade, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019. Sixth-grade student Sophia Tuschinski has been to all of them.
“It’s a lot of fun. We camp out before. It’s pretty cold, but, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. After we do it, we get warmed up. You get to dance with your friends,” she said.
The choir will be on the steps of the Art Museum and will be singing and dancing to both “Sing” by Pentatonix and the Christmas finale as Santa and Mrs. Claus make their entrance. They are scheduled to perform at 10:52 and 11:50 a.m. During the finale, they will be wearing color-coded sweaters that will form a picture.
“Last year was a star, and then it was Rudolph, and then the record player,” Sophia said.
The director of the choir, Andrea Arena, said the group was invited to perform that first year by 6ABC, although she is not sure where anyone from the station saw them perform. They have become regulars since.
“These kids are so talented and they’re so outgoing. Their personalities, you can hear the caring in their voices. They’re just gorgeous,” said Arena, who added that St. Ann’s is the only school from Delaware that is participating.
Being in the parade means a bit more sacrifice than giving up a lunch period. The students will be in Philadelphia on Wednesday for a rehearsal, and they need to be at school by 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning for the ride back up Interstate 95. Arena said they will be in place on the steps by 10 a.m.
Sophia is buying some extra sleep by staying in Philadelphia the night before.
“I’m super-excited,” she said.
For the second year, Arena – a professional opera singer – will be joining her students in the performance. She was “asked” to participate last year.
“Last year there were a lot of cancellations because there was a stomach bug going around,” she said. “People didn’t show up, but they still had to form the picture, so they were like, ‘You, you, get in there.’ This year, because it’s the hundredth anniversary, they’re taking alumni in also. So yes, I am definitely in this year.”
Sophia said she enjoys being in the children’s choir “because it’s just a whole bunch of people who like to sing, and you can all go together and share your interests. We have a lot of fun there.”
Arena likes that her students can have a lot of fun in Philadelphia, and it gives them an experience that could help shape their future.
“It’s really cool, and it’s a great experience for the kids to be in front of producers of that level in front of 12 million people. It’s a great thing to be a part of, to see if they want to continue singing after the choir here and they move on to high school.”