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A Night They'll Never Forget

A song recorded in Devon leads to a night in the spotlight at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for Delaware County Christian School middle schoolers.

B101 Radio Morning Hosts Michael Chew and Jenn Ryan (in red) present a $5,000 check to DC Choral Director Renee Bussey on stage at the Philly Pops Concert. Photo: Bob Byrne
B101 Radio Morning Hosts Michael Chew and Jenn Ryan (in red) present a $5,000 check to DC Choral Director Renee Bussey on stage at the Philly Pops Concert. Photo: Bob Byrne
The journey to the stage of Verizon Hall at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center started with a recording session in a chapel on the Lower School Campus of Delaware County Christian School (DC) in Devon.

That's where the small, private Christian school choirs recorded their entries to the B101 Radio Christmas Choir Contest back in November.  It is the first year Choir Director Renee Bussey entered her choirs in the competition.  The contest's first week was dedicated to K-8 choirs.  This week's contest (voting is going on until 9 p.m. Thursday) is for the high schools.  Once again Delaware County Christian's choir is in the final three. (They'd really appreciate your vote today before 9 p.m. at this website).

Wednesday night it was time for the 48 members of the Delaware County Christian School Middle School Girls Select Choir to take center stage at the Philly Pops concert.  They sang their winning song On Christmas Night  acapella, receiving enthusiastic and sustained applause not only from the professional musicians in the orchestra seated behind them, but from the crowd in the violin-shaped, acoustically near-perfect concert hall.

It was not only magical for the sixth, seventh and eight grade girls but for their school as well.  The entire DC Middle school has 184 students. The choir was competing against Haverford Middle School and Phoenixville Area Middle School Choirs to win the contest.  By comparison, one of  the Phoenixville Area Middle School choirs has 244 members.  The competition was stiff.  All three schools had outstanding entries.

What Gave DC the Edge?

Like the gospels that teach the Christmas story, DC has connections around the world. While DC is a much smaller school than the larger public schools, the alumni are fiercely loyal boosters and when the call, actually the emails, went out asking for votes, DC's extended community responded with tens of thousands of votes.  Choir members who spoke to Patch in the giant holding room reserved for them in the Kimmel Center echoed Bussey and DC Middle School Principal Chuck Young's comments. "We had people in the Philippines, Scotland, Japan, England, The Dominic Republic" and many other nations around the globe voting."

The result was not only a live performance in the middle of the Philly Pops Holiday Concert, but also a night featuring backstage meetings with the B101 Morning personalities who presented the school with a check for $5,000 for the school's music program. 

At intermission the Philly Pops publicity director took six lucky girls backstage for photos with guest orchestra conductor Davis Charles Abbell and Soprano Angela Brown.  Both spent several minutes sharing music stories and some laughs with the DC middle schoolers.

One other point was not lost on the students or school administrators. Of the finalists in the middle school competition, only DC's entry was non-secular. For the students and school administrators it was a chance to tell a small part of the Christmas story. "As a Christian School we're allowed to sing about Jesus' birth.. where a public school may not be able to do that," Young told Patch.

For the girls it was an experience they'll never forget.  When the announcement was made on the radio the excitement was electric. "I was on the school bus when I got a text," explained choir member Jordan. "I jumped up and down!"

Seventh grader Katie from Radnor said "It was really cool" when she woke up to the news last Friday.  "I screamed, but i didn't scream as loud as my parents did!"

SueLee December 13, 2013 at 08:28 AM
And for the icing on the cake, the Delaware County Christian School Senior High Concert Choir won B101's High School Competition this morning!! THEY are now off to perform with the Philly Pops at the Kimmel Center next week! There is so much talent and love in this Christian college-prep school nestled in Devon (lower school) and Newtown Square (upper school) - you can hear it in their winning voices! Check it out! We are so proud! www.dccs.org

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