Beverly Parker-Rice is still molding minds after more than 30 years of teaching music.
Among the children she has taught are two Elloree Elementary sixth-graders who will be singing with the South Carolina Elementary Honor Choir this year.
Parler-Rice, the school’s K-8 general music/choral teacher, also serves as the fine arts coordinator in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3.
She has spent 29 of her 33 years teaching music at Elloree Elementary, where students Alisia Sheppard and Brent Snell Jr. have been selected to participate in the statewide honor choir.
The students also participated in the honor choir last year. This year’s performance will be held at 10 am. Saturday, Feb. 9, at First Baptist Church in Columbia as part of the 2019 S.C. Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference.
Parler-Rice said she is delighted that the students were selected to perform again this year.
“I feel fantastic. We’re behind the eight ball because we’ve got seven songs to learn and I was out a week and a half. We got the music kind of late, but we’ll get there with YouTube,” she said, smiling.
This year marks the veteran educator’s 21st year as a member of the honor choir committee.
Approximately 600 students from across the state competed for the roughly 270 spots on the choir, which will be directed by Rollo Dilworth, an associate professor of choral music education at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music.
“He writes gospel music for children’s choirs. So I’m excited for Brent to be able to work with him to see what a male can do. Dilworth is young and energetic. We’re singing two of his arrangements,” Parler-Rice, said, noting that it is “awesome” hearing the honor choir sing.
Sheppard and Snell are part of Parler-Rice’s sixth-grade general music class.
Snell, whose father is a member of the Gospel Legends quartet, said he felt confident that he was going to be selected to perform on the honor choir.
“There was no doubt about it,” Snell said, smiling. He said singing helps him express himself and that music is a way of telling others his story through song.
“It just helps me a lot in different kinds of ways. I just like expressing myself to different people. Sometimes I sing gospel, sometimes I have to make up a song and put my feelings in it. I have a book at home that I write songs in,” Snell said. “I’m trying to make a record.”
Sheppard said she also has a book of songs, even taking it to school because “I just make up songs while I’m at school.”
She said it feels “really good” to be selected for the honor choir. Parler-Rice is a good teacher who makes learning fun, Sheppard said.
“It’s fun because she jokes with Brent a lot. She jives with Brent, and it’s funny,” she said.
Sheppard said she enjoys singing because it allows her to express her feelings.
Parler-Rice, said, “There’s one thing about these students. They don’t mind singing any kind of song. Some people just want to stick with one genre. Even though Brent’s a gospel star, he will sing any kind of song. Brent sings on the International Day committee and the Christmas program committee.”
“God Be In My Head,” “Moh Lee Hwah” and “Exsultate Justi” are among the songs the two students are learning in preparation for their performance.
Parler-Rice said she uses the Quaver Music program to teach her students.
“Quaver Music organizes all the materials. It has a lesson plan that includes the new general music standards. Anything you need is there, but sometimes I add instruments to some of my lessons. It’s a full curriculum,” she said.