In addition to having the opportunity to witness Chief Justice John Roberts’ visit, area residents who gathered around the Robert H. Jackson Center on Friday morning were treated to live entertainment.
The event opened with the performance by the Jamestown High School a capella choir, directed by Norman Lydell. The group performed a selection of tunes including: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Praise His Holy Name,” “Home” by Phillip Phillips, “Oom-Pah-Pah” from the musical “Oliver!” and others.
According to Lydell, the event was a great opportunity for the kids, who rose to the occasion, he said.
“Seeing a crowd like this brings the best out of you when you’re a performer – and they responded well,” said Lydell.
Meghan Murray, band director for Jamestown High School, said she was happy to be a part of the event and to help the a capella group with the performance.
Several members of the a cappella choir expressed a high level of excitement regarding the performance. According to Alyssa Ralph, senior and president of the choir, the event was a great opportunity to display what the a capella choir is capable of to the community.
“It’s a boost for our school, but also for the community of Jamestown,” said Ralph. “Schools from everywhere are here, so it makes us feel special.”
Dustin George, senior, said it was cool to see someone like the chief justice in Jamestown because it doesn’t happen very often.
Jacklynn Wick, sophomore, said she loves to sing, and the event was something that she could say she’s done as an accomplishment.
“I want to be performing when I’m older with my voice,” said Wick. “Now I can say that I’ve performed for the chief justice with my a capella choir.”
Marcos Melendez, senior, said he felt honored to perform for someone of such high standard.
“I’ve met people from all over the United States, but no one as big as Chief Justice Roberts,” said Melendez. “It’s an honor for me to perform for such a great American man who dedicates himself to making this a better country.”
Casey Arndt, sophomore, felt that it was rare to have someone so high up in the ranks of the United States to come to Jamestown.
“It makes me pretty excited because I love performing with this group, who are my friends, and the songs are great,” said Arndt.
Madison Walker-Blake, sophomore, said the event was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that exposed the community to the great things students at Jamestown High School are doing.
“We’re trying to be role models and to show not just Jamestown, but the nation, what we can do,” said Walker-Blake.
According to Kristina Hodges, senior, the crowd was the biggest she’s ever performed for before.
“It’s an honor to be in the a capella group in general, and especially to be here for the chief justice and all these people,” said Hodges.
Juanita Wallace Jackson, contralto, wife of John Jackson, Jackson Center board member, performed the national anthem at the event, for which she received many positive responses, she said. Mrs. Jackson was accompanied by local musician Bill Ward on guitar.
“I felt very comfortable,” said Mrs. Jackson. “I was glad to have Bill Ward with me because he kept me on pitch. I’ve done more concerts than I can even think about, but never have I sung before a crowd like this – I felt blessed. Blessed that God let me stand and sing this long, and it was wonderful to share such a patriotic message. The national anthem is a song I know and sing with joy.”
“Juanita is an old friend, and I always enjoy playing and singing with her,” added Ward. “I was honored that she would ask me to accompany her. She and John are a big part of the Jackson Center. I’m always proud of what they do there and glad that I can help in any way that I possibly can. To be able to be there during a prestigious moment was very cool. What was nice to see was so many school kids showed up because you don’t get to see that sort of thing very often in your hometown.”