FHS alums make beautiful music again

  • Former Farragut High School choir director Carey Crowe, fourth from left, easily slipped back into his Madrigal Costume during a day-long alumni choir reunion Saturday, Feb. 18. Also pictured are FHS Choir alums, from left, Betsy Seagraves, Bill Poppen, Nancy Whitehead Brown, Cindy Hassil, brothers Jeremy and Jake Hall and Jacqueline Micko Thompson. - Photo submitted

  • Former FHS choir director (and FHS Choir alum) Ginny Carroll Herrick addressed the audience and fronted the choir during the concert while event emcee Mark Gagliaradi looked on. - Photo submitted

Farragut High School choir members from as far back as 1976 gathered Saturday, Feb. 18, to perform together in concert in the school’s Vickie B. Wells Auditorium.

Many of the nearly 100 alums spent the day reminiscing and rehearsing before the concert itself, reconnecting and touring the school.

The group performed under the direction of Carey Crowe (1978-2001); Ginny Carroll Herrick (2001-07, who still lives in Farragut and had the distinction of also being a choir alum – Class of ‘98); Kenton Deitch (2007-18, who now is choir director at Webb Middle School); and current FHS choir director Mitchell Moore, who put the event together with the help of choir alum (Class of 1996) and current Farragut resident Elizabeth Plewniak.

The group performed the “Star Spangled Banner;” “Gloria,” which was accompanied on cello by alum Brian Crowe (who also is also Carey Crowe’s son); “Sing Me to Heaven;” and “Good King Kong,” the latter of which was led by Class of 1984 alum Nancy Whitehead Brown on the kazoo.

Accompanying the singers on piano was Farragut resident and Class of 1983 alum Betsy Yates Seagraves, owner of Farragut Pharmacy.

“It was wonderful that Mitchell put this together,” said Herrick, a mother of two who owns Thomas Tuning and Service with her husband, Thomas. “The reason I left was because of the time you must put into the program, and I couldn’t do it properly and raise a family. So I know how much time it took, from what he has already been doing, to put this event together too.

“I’m just so grateful for this.”

“It was a wonderful, wonderful day,” Crowe said.

“It was the greatest gift, to make music with so many people who love it too,” Deitch said.

Traveling locally, and even cross-country, were alums including Hollywood actor Mark Gagliardi, (Class of 1998,) who served as emcee for the event.

Jerry Cornelius of Centerville, Ohio, Class of 1976, had the distinction of being the “oldest” alum.

Also logging many miles was Bill Poppen, Class of 1982, who now lives in San Francisco.

“The alumni choir day was well worth the air fare (and four hours of sleep the night before because of the delayed flight, necessitating a midnight drive over the mountains from Charlotte),” he posted on the group’s Facebook page after the event. “So good to see friends from the ’80s, Mr. Crowe and so many people who have benefitted from the FHS program over the years.”

“I am so grateful for today,” Moore later stated on Facebook. “For the people who came in from close to home and out of state, for the former directors who came back, for the alumni who put in countless hours behind the scenes and for the current students who got there an hour early and stayed all day just to help.

“I am lucky to have three predecessors who are willing to provide me continual support and guidance,” he added. “It was a joy watching them work today. The seeds they planted years ago are why today was even possible.

“I don’t know when or if I’ll ever transition into being the kind of person I cherish these three as, but I know one thing: I stand on the shoulders of giants.”