According to its members, the Lake Highlands High School parents’ choir is a great place to meet people.
Just ask Valinda and Rick O’Connor. The couple met through the choir in 1999, when her youngest son Mark and Rick’s oldest daughter Maggie were involved in the school’s choral program.
“I was playing piano for the choir, and he was singing, and somehow we noticed each other,” Valinda says. “We walked out after a couple of the rehearsals talking, and eventually figured out we were both single. I think he looked to see if I had a wedding ring on.”
After the choir’s annual holiday concert, the two attended the after-party together.
“We consider that to be our first date,” Valinda says.
By the time the 2000 choir season rolled around, they were married.
It’s a favorite story of others in the choir, though everyone agrees that no one should join the choir to meet a prospective partner. Instead, parents join for other reasons.
“The parents always enjoy getting to see what their kids go through and the things they learn as part of the music curriculum,” says Michael O’Hern, choir program director at LHHS.
The choir started in 1986. Nearly 20 years later, it’s still popular, bringing 70 to 80 parents of children in the 10th through 12th grades. They gather each November to start rehearsing for the annual holiday concert, where they perform three songs, one of which they’ll also record for the holiday CD, a program fund-raiser sold at the concert.
O’Hern’s sense of humor is one of the things that keeps parents coming back, says member Cindy Tegt. But it’s also his patience in “bringing out the most talent with what he has,” she adds.
“They say even if you don’t sing outside the privacy of your own shower, come and join the fun and fellowship,” laughs Tegt.
O’Hern, however, has nothing but praise for the parents.
“Over two-thirds of them sang in their high school choirs,” O’Hern says proudly. And he insists he’s not the only one who’s proud.
“The kids absolutely love watching their parents do this,” he says. “They always give them a standing ovation.”
The holiday choir concert is a free event held Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the school auditorium. Holiday CDs are $15. For information about the concert or the parents’ choir, call the school at 469-593-1061 or visit www.lhhschoir.org.