Confluence Academy-Old North choir inspires Little Bit gala
Old North choir sings of joy, inspiration at Little Bit gala
Posted on 10/24/2013

ON ChoirFor days, the choir students at Confluence Academy-Old North were excited about performing at a weekend event. As the date got closer, their excitement grew, along with a case of nerves.

The big night was Saturday, October 19 at the Join the Journey Gala, a fundraiser for The Little Bit Foundation. The choir of seventh and eighth graders arrived by school bus. The students seemed a little nervous and jittery as they walked in and took off their coats. There was time for one more, very quick rehearsal. Moments later, it was time to sing.

As the music cued and the choir director gave her nod, the Confluence Academy-Old North Concert Choir sang with proud voices and their heads held high.

They performed three songs – “Tomorrow (Better You, Better Me)” by Quincy Jones and Tevin Campbell, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, and “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago. Lorenzo Coleman, eighth grade, was the soloist for “Tomorrow.” De’Angelo Williams, eighth grade, was the soloist for “Awesome.” The choir is led by Lynette Ward.

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Cheers, shouts and standing ovations showed gratitude and pride for the choir as they took a bow. Throughout the event, Little Bit supporters and leaders praised the choir.

“I loved their performance as they displayed true musicianship,” said Ward. She played the keyboard while directing the choir.

The choir was escorted by staff from Old North - Kevin Lin, science teacher; Sheila Caradine, substitute teacher; and Erik Jefferson, tutor. Nathan Rodgers, a volunteer, played drums for the choir.

“The students were excited about the opportunity and proud of their contribution,” Ward said. “They buzzed about it during the entire bus ride back to Old North.”

The Little Bit Foundation’s gala was held at the Edward Jones’ offices in Des Peres. Old North is one of 16 schools in the City of St. Louis partnered with the foundation. More than 4,300 elementary and middle school students are served by Little Bit. It was founded in 2001 out of a small request from a teacher in an inner-city school. Ninety to 100 percent of students in the schools partnered with Little Bit are at or near the poverty level.

Little Bit’s website explains the mission. “We are committed to helping disadvantaged school children by creating a positive impact for personal growth, increasing self-esteem and encouraging a more focused and active learning environment. We do this by building strong relationships and partnering closely with St. Louis schools.”

Old North has benefited from the organization through donations of hats and gloves, an in-school boutique with clothes, socks and underwear, personal hygiene kits and books. The school also has a washer and dryer from Little Bit.

“The Little Bit Foundation’s support to Confluence Academy-Old North has been amazing. This wonderful partnership and the boutique have helped us address the immediate needs of our students,” said Sonya Murray, Old North principal.

“Each Tuesday, orders are filled so we can provide timely support while removing barriers that could hinder student success in school. It is extremely encouraging to be able to provide our families with items such as uniforms, book bags, shoes and clothing. These resources help our teachers keep the focus on student achievement,” said Murray.

“Another unexpected impact of having the support of Little Bit has been an increase in our students’ motivation and self-esteem. Students are very proud to wear their new uniforms, coats and shoes sponsored by Little Bit.

“Our entire school community is immensely appreciative of The Little Bit Foundation. Words cannot express our extreme gratitude. Our goal is to continue to build on this very successful partnership and we would also like to see the efforts of this collaboration in our student achievement,” continued Murray.

For more information about Little Bit, check out their website –

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