The Whispering Pines Chamber Singers and Band, also known as the “Mighty Tines,” a group of talented students from Whispering Pines Elementary School in Cutler Bay, have scored an amazing accomplishment in a competition involving older students. The group of youngsters traveled to Atlanta at the end of April to compete in the Southern Star Music Festival. Because they were the only elementary school to participate in the competition they competed in the middle school category and so impressed the judges with their presentation and skill that they won First Place Concert Choir and First Place Mixed Choir.
As if that weren’t enough, because there was no elementary school category for Show Choir they had to compete at the high school level. Apparently that did not intimidate the determined group as they also received First Place in that. So the “Mighty Tines” stunned everyone by bringing home the Grand Champion Trophy for overall best choir performance.
Additionally, members of the Whispering Pines Band, who competed in the middle school category, took first place Rock Band, an unprecedented achievement at the elementary school level.
Dr. Harry Musselwhite, a competition judge from Berry College in Rome, GA, was impressed.
“I am a great fan of this choir,” Musselwhite said. “Mr. Ron Simon [the choir director] is not only a musician, but a farmer that is planting seeds in these children’s lives — seeds of wonderful, healthy singing, a gift that they don’t ever have to give up, it is theirs forever.”
Another judge, Janice Folsom from South Crescent Chorale had similar praise for the students from Whispering Pines. “These young people are receiving a great training,” Folsom said. “The unbelievable discipline that they are learning from Mr. Simon will make such a difference in all areas of their lives, not only now, but also in their future. Mr. Simon is just a phenomenal teacher that is teaching them so much more than just music.”
Since the Whispering Pines Chamber Singers and Band do not receive any special funding from Miami-Dade District Schools they have depended upon the parents of the Booster Club to help them raise funds throughout the year to cover the costs of attending such competitions.
The students also raise funds for other worthy causes, because their teacher wants them to learn the importance of giving back. Last year, they donated therapy ergonomic bicycles to children with disabilities.
“Thanks to Mr. Simon’s selfless dedication over the last three decades and his devoted service to the community, these students are learning the importance of accomplishing goals through commitment and the powerful impact of music,” said Marta Wright, mother of one of the girls in the choir.