By Katelynd Anderson
If you are out and about in Southwest, then you have certainly heard the Amidon-Bowen Elementary School Choir. In addition to being regular performers at Southwest events, the Amidon-Bowen Choir has enjoyed numerous opportunities to sing at concerts throughout the city, including special programs from the Mayor’s office to Capitol Hill.
The choir is directed by Ms. Para Perry, a 2014 winner of the coveted Excellence in Teaching Award. “The Southwester” spoke to Ms. Perry about the choir, school and neighborhood.
Why are you involved with the ABES Choir?
Music is my first love. When I was a very young child, singing in church got me started. Later singing in the school choir (8th-12th grade) was the one thing that excited me everyday. The choir provided many experiences that made me who I am today.
This is what I want my students to experience everyday.
How long has the choir been around and what is its legacy in the neighborhood?
The Amidon School Choir was established in 2001 when I arrived as the general music teacher. Back then the school was Amidon Elementary School. Later Bowen and Amidon merged in 2009 and we became Amidon-Bowen. The choir has performed for many of our government agencies such as: Dept. of Education, the Cannon House Office Building, President George W. Bush’s cabinet, FBI, and the EPA. We have also performed for several churches in the SW community, Family and Children Services, Phase I and II groundbreaking Ceremonies for the Southwest Wharf, and the Opening Ceremony for Phase I of the Wharf.
What is your favorite part about the choir?
My favorite part is watching them begin work on a performance and watching it come alive. I enjoyseeing the smiles and a sense of achievement on my children’s faces during and after performing.
What is the one thing that would surprise the neighborhood to learn about the choir?
They would be surprised to know that we are versatile and have a diverse repertoire of music. We have traveled in many different circles and have performed for many diverse groups.