WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Board of Education agreed Monday to loan the Brooke High School Madrigal Choir money to perform in Italy.
The choir, which dresses in Medieval costumes while performing songs from various periods without musical accompaniment, has been invited to sing at an afternoon Mass at St Peter's Basilica, a high Mass in Assisi and public concerts in Rome and Florence in June.
But despite various fundraising efforts, it has fallen short by about $45,759 needed to go, so Nic Taylor, the choir's director, asked the school board for a loan.
Following a lengthy executive session, the board voted 4-1 to loan the money, with the understanding it be repaid within a year. Supporting the request were board members Jim Piccirillo, Brian Ferguson, Frank Ujcich and Jim Lazear.
Voting against was Chad Haught, who said he was surprised the board would loan that amount without collateral involved. He said his vote is no reflection on the music program or its director.
Piccirillo said he believes the group will be able to repay the loan.
Plans call for the choir's 24 members and six members of the Brooke High School Art Club to be accompanied by several Brooke County school employees who are paying their own way.
Taylor expressed thanks to the school board but stressed the loan will be repaid.
"My main concern is that people will mistakenly think this is money that was given to us," Taylor said.
He said the group already has raised funds for the trip through contributions from the students' parents, the sale of hoagies, baked goods and other items; a golf scramble at Highland Springs Golf Course; and a promotion conducted by Allietta Ford in which the Wellsburg dealership agreed to donate $20 for each person who came to test-drive a vehicle and mentioned the choir.
The choir will be conducting prize drawings during the spring concert for the school's choir and band at 6 p.m. today. And a spaghetti dinner will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Franklin United Methodist Church. The cost is $7.
In related business, the board recognized members of the high school's music department for the many honors they received this year.
Under Taylor's direction, a choral ensemble made up of Tyler Cooper, Caitlin Luck, Ares Ensell, Brent Kimball and Matthias Naill was named All-State High School Chamber Choir by the American Choral Directors Association. And another comprised of Cooper, Naill, Kimball, Luck, Jordan Harlan, Victoria Gerst, Jessica Kuna and Kassidi Reitter was named All-State Choir.
Led by Erin Steffey, Brooke High School band members Cooper, Luck, Reitter, Justin Taflan, Jake Hruschak, Carlie Ballato, Justin Hoff, Zane Gray and Sean Murdock were selected from top musicians in several counties to play in the West Virginia Region I Honor Band.
Cooper, Luck, Taflan, Hruschak, Reitter and Murdock also were named to the West Virginia University Honor Band.
And at the West Virginia Music and Educators Association's Solo and Ensemble Competition, Hruschak, an alto saxophonist, was rated superior plus and selected to perform at the Governor's Honors Recital. At the same competition, Brooke band members Justin Hoff, Alex Wilson and Matt Jackson received superior ratings and Tara Gray and Lindsay Six received excellent ratings.
The school board also recognized students from Follansbee and Wellsburg middle schools and Brooke High School for their performance in the Math Field Day and MATHCOUNTS competitions.
Drew Garrett, an eighth-grader at Follansbee Middle School, placed first at the state level of the Math Field Day competition. Fellow eighth-grader Dalton Minger placed third.
Morgan Zopp was a regional winner for the school, and county winners were Mason Zopp, Colin Heilman, Josh Taflan, Seana Davis, Taylor Pannett, Isaac Goodwin, Koty Hudson, Thomas Lancaster and Brittany Hawken.
The Math Field Day participants were coached by Holly Kisner, Dana Durbin, Kelly Eggert and Erin Ankrum.
Coached by Ankrum, the Follansbee Middle MATHCOUNTS A Team placed first at the regional level of the competition and third at the state level. Its members were Dalton Minger, who placed first as an individual competitor at the regional level and sixth at the state; Morgan Zopp, who placed fourth regionally; Raeann Lahita, who placed sixth regionally; and Kirsten Lancia.
Garett Pauls, a sixth-grader at Wellsburg Middle School, placed fifth in his grade level at the state level of the Math Field Day competition.
Wellsburg pupils who were regional Math Field Day winners were Emily Donley, Aleksey Rasz, Kaitlyn James and Rhiannon Macom. County Math Field Day winners from the school were Emily Donley, Kaitlynne Seminsky, Gage Yost, Michaela Mahan, Rebecca Conaway, Aaron Adams and Shaffer.
The Math Field Day participants were coached by Linda Burch, Cindy Schiffbauer, Michelle Meca and Toni Taylor.
Representing Wellsburg Middle School at the West Virginia MATHCOUNTS event were Gavin Shaffer and Katelyn James.
Normally the top two teams at the regional level advance to the state competition. But this year only three teams were in the regional event, so participants with the top individual scores from Wellsburg and a Wheeling team advanced to the state.
Brooke High School also had a state Math Field Day winner: Jakob Heilman, who placed fourth.
The school's regional Math Field Day winners were Paraag Gupta, Matthias Naill, Devon Ansell and Franko Lewis. Its county Math Field Day winners were: Jessie Wayne, Anthony Pizzuti, Abbi Yachini, Brice Hickey, Alec Salakovich, Vinny Pizzuti, Jin Can Lin, Brian Gialluco, Peng Ahao, Kevin Rowland, Justin Cervenak and Josh Harrick.