Students have raised their voices at Forest Meadow and Lake Highlands junior high schools – not in anger, but in song.

The holiday season keeps school choral departments busy as students prepare to perform in winter concerts for family, faculty and neighbors.

The various choirs at Forest Meadow and Lake Highlands will all perform concerts this season in the schools. The advanced show choirs Sound Express at Forest Meadow and Limited Edition at Lake Highlands will also perform throughout the community.

The choir programs at these two schools have strong student participation. Forest Meadow has 151 students in choir, says Susan DeKruyff, the school’s choir director, and Lake Highlands choir director, Michael O’Hern, says the school has 380 students in the choral program.

“I don’t have to twist a kid’s arm to sing something,” O’Hern says. “The students want to do it. They want to be a part of it (choir). It’s a very prestigious group.”

Choir gives students self-esteem, discipline and confidence, says O’Hern and DeKruyff. Students also learn to appreciate music, they say.

“There are a lot of academic skills that the students may not realize they are getting,” DeKruyff says. Students learn to site read and to count music, she says, and they pick up some foreign words when they sing pieces from other countries.

“Choir teaches a great deal about history,” O’Hern adds. “There’s a lot of history tied up in music.”

Lake Highlands has six choirs in addition to Limited Edition. There are two boys’ choirs, three girls’ choirs and a mixed choir at the school.

Forest Meadow has a boys’ choir, two girls’ choirs and a mixed choir, as well as Sound Express.

The holiday program at Lake Highlands, Holidays Around the World, is scheduled for Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the school, 10301 Kingsley Road. Songs will be sung from several different countries, O’Hern says. Call O’Hern for information at 553-9435.

Forest Meadow’s holiday program is scheduled for Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Scofield Memorial Church, 7730 Abrams. Three elementary schools that feed into the junior high will also perform – Aikin, Merriman Park and Moss Haven. Call DeKruyff for information at 553-5461.

PTAs Entertain for the Holidays

The PTAs at neighborhood schools have planned holiday programs for their monthly meetings. All Lake Highlands elementary schools scheduled their PTA meetings for Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., unless otherwise listed.

Singer/songwriter Eddie Coker will perform at the meeting at Lake Highlands, 9501 Ferndale Road.

Before the meeting at Skyview, 9229 Meadowknoll Drive, the PTA will host a potato bake. Cost is $3 for adults and $2 for children. Reservations required. Call Stacy Bell at 343-5727.

Other area elementary schools have also scheduled winter shows. At most schools, student choirs will perform.

Victor H. Hexter Elementary, 9720 Waterview Road, will hold its meeting on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. and L.L. Hotchkiss’s meeting is on Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m., 6929 Town North Drive. Both will have holiday programs.

Forest Meadow Junior High’s PTA meets on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in the school library, 9373 Whitehurst. The nomination committee for the 1995-96 PTA officers will be chosen. After the meeting, the school choir will perform a holiday concert at Scofield Memorial Church, 7730 Abrams.

Lake Highlands Junior High School’s next PTA meeting is Jan. 23 and Lake Highlands High School’s next meeting is Feb. 28.