One-of-a-kind robes designed for NMCC's one-of-a-kind choir

Monday, October 17, 2005
Judy Henry and members of the Singing Eagles rehearse prior to their October concert.

NEW MADRID - The Singing Eagles have something new to sing about - and in.

The New Madrid County Central High School select choir, made up of some 50 sophomores, juniors and seniors, debuted in their new choir robes at the October concert.

The black robes with green and gold stripes on the bottom of the sleeves are topped with a satin green and gold stole featuring an old-style letter C. The unique robes were designed by the choir's director Judy Henry.

According to Henry, it took time to come up with the right look for the group. She began the process almost a year ago, receiving approval from the administration and the School Board to include the robes in the budget.

Last spring, Henry worked with Collegiate Robe Co. on the actual design. "The company didn't have anything with two colors on the sleeve, so they had to design a new sleeve," she explained.

Their first mock-up didn't meet her approval so it was back to the drawing board. After more consultations and tries, the look got the OK from Henry.

"The Singing Eagles work hard and now they have got the classy look they deserve," said Henry.

As a vocal music instructor and musician, Henry said attire can make the difference when performers take the stage.

"The mood is set by the way they look as well as the feeling performers get when they know they look sophisticated and dignified," she said. "When you are proud of the way you look your performance is more vibrant, more energized."

Henry added that energized performance is exactly what she is seeking from her students. They even made it their motto this year, printing: "Singing Eagles Vocally Energized" on their shirts.

The other robes, still in good shape, are now being worn by members of the Male Chorus and the Female Chorus. Henry pointed out she has waited 15 years to see the choirs all in robes for performances and praised the district's support of her request, "They are always very supportive of the music program. The administration and the board of education stepped up and went that extra mile for us."

And Mike Cartwright, a senior and president of the Singing Eagles this year, said he and the other singers are ready to go the extra mile in return. "Nobody else in the world has a robe like ours. They are one of kind," said Cartwright. "We are going to work hard so people will know we are a choir to take seriously."

Cartwright said with their new robes, the choir members feel like their efforts are appreciated.

Besides, he concluded, "If you sing good, you got to look good, too!"

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