Choir serves as escape from violence, spreads peace


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — More than twenty Garden Hills students have volunteered their lunch hours to spend the time inside singing. Many of them say they’d rather be inside singing because they feel safer. Some also said they volunteered their time because it seemed fun.

Retired teacher Marian Wyatt has been volunteering her time to help. She says it’s also a good escape for students affected by recent issues in the community.

“We don’t hear about the violence, we see it. We live it. And it’s important for all of us to look at what we can do,” said Wyatt.

Gabriel Manning will perform with 20 other second through fifth graders as part of a Christmas show at Virginia Theatre.

“It’s a good way to express your feelings,” said student Gabriel Manning. For Manning, songs that talk about peace, stick with him.

“When I started to sing it yesterday, I kindof thought about that boy that got shot the other day,” said Manning.

He’s referring to 10-year-old Decari Roberts who was shot while in his bedroom on Williamsburg Drive Sunday night.

Wyatt hopes their voices bring the healing the community needs.

“It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are. It’s always a good time to look inside and say what can I do to make the world a better place?” said Wyatt.

All the money from ticket sales goes to the Developmental Service Center. This show will be the first any of these students stand on a stage. The show starts at 7 p.m. The kids will be the last to perform.

Between 4 and 7 p.m., students will go to Swann Center and Meijer to carol. That’s when they’ll also raise money for Empower. Empower is group of Centennial High School students raising money to go to a two-day non-violence training.

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