Livonia singers make most of adversity

Provided Photograph Members of the Livonia Live vocal ensemble at Livonia Central School surprised a beloved teacher last month with a surprise performance outside her home. Among the participants were, Ian Ward, Anthony Maggio, Mackenzie Garger, Cara Monteleone, Dylan Rode, Lexi Mills, Gina Tette, Grace Krebbecks, Anna Evans, MaKenna Wilkins, Mady DeWater. Missing from the picture Betsy is Mohnkern.

The class with perfect vision never saw this coming.

As the Livonia Class of 2020 is nearing the end of a very different senior year they are sad about the many milestones they have missed. Instead of focusing on the loss, a few of these incredible kids recognized that they aren’t the only one hurting. Thursday, May 28, would have been the last Livonia Live chorus concert for the Class of 2020. The seniors from Livonia Live knew this night would be hard for their beloved director Sarah Whittel. So they donned their ensemble uniforms and drove to Mrs. Whittel’s house, stood in her driveway and sang for her.

While she cried tears of happiness they sang, putting aside their own pain to bring something special to her.

It just so happened that their band director, Andrew Lawton, was just leaving the Whittels after stopping by briefly and he got to enjoy the concert, too.

Livonia Live is the top vocal ensemble at Livonia High School. Participation in this ensemble is by audition only.

On June 7, this ensemble was scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Distinguished Concerts International New York invited Livonia Live to participate after DCINY saw some of the ensemble’s concerts online. DCINY liked the performance enough that they were willing to forgo the audition and allowed Livonia Live to participate at Carnegie Hall along with other select choirs chosen from all over the world. As you can expect, that concert was cancelled along with many other wonderful events for this class.

Most of the kids in Livonia Live are also in the high school musical. This year Livonia was putting on “Newsies.” The show was scheduled to be performed March 19 to 21. On March 12, students got word that the play would not be able to go on as scheduled due to COVID-19.

Sarah and director Jesse Van Epps told the kids to call their parents and get them to the school. The rehearsal that night turned into a performance for the parents.

These kids gave it their all. That night, right before they went on stage, the seniors in the cast learned that Disney World in Florida was closing which meant that their senior trip to Disney starting on March 25 wouldn’t be happening either.

The plan for the play was that when they got back to school after a few weeks at home these kids could show the outcome of their countless hours of hard work and dedication. Little did we know at that time that school would not be back in session.

We still have our fingers crossed that our “Newsies” cast will hit the stage before our seniors head off to the next step in their lives.

The Livonia Live seniors aren’t just your typical seniors; these extraordinary kids are at the top of their class academically. They are involved in school and community groups, many are in National Honor Society, and on sectional winning sports teams. They are missing their spring sports seasons, their last band and chorus concerts, saying goodbye to their favorite teachers and underclassmen, spending the end of the school year with friends, taking finals in class, the band and chorus senior trip to Cleveland and the list goes on.

At this time the administration and some volunteers at Livonia are planning a June 27 graduation compliant with current restrictions and a socially distant senior fun night which is a school tradition the day before graduation.

This Livonia Class of 2020 will re-write the history book not only on how they ended their senior year in Livonia but also how to face adversity with kindness, resiliency and continuing on their life’s path by giving more back to the world than the world has given them right now.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1