I taught one semester as substitute teacher in Weatherly Elementary School and taught seven years in Borger High School, 1942-1949.
The Story of My Life - Page 13
(by Loma (Groom) Harrison)
The first year I taught in Borger High School, I taught Freshman and Sophomore English all day, except for one period when I coached Girl's Choral Club. I organized a very popular Girl's Sextet, the Borgerettes, which practiced at Activity period. Thus we began building the first Vocal Music Department in Borger High, in the history of the school.
In the beginning, "Boys in Borger High School do not sing". They were athletes. But with the help of some of the most popular football players, we were able to build a choir of mixed voices. Few of the students could read music and none of them could sing in harmony. Since this was World War II days, I chose a patriotic song, "America the Beautiful" to teach in four part harmony. I taught the parts by rote: thus, the whole choir learned to sing the bass part, then the bass section learned to hold their part with only the soprano tune. We did the same for the tenor and alto parts, and soon the choir could sing in four part harmony. I taught Louella Pennington, who had a very lovely coloratura soprano voice, to sing an obligatio or descant, while the choir sang in four parts, and we had a good song to sing at programs. Doris Spence, my sister Lorena's daughter , was the first accompanist for the choir which later became the first Acapella Choir of Borger High School.
The Borger High School Band and the Choir gave Victory Concerts and sold War Bonds to help with the War effort. Later, when it became popular to sing in Borger High School, we had a good boy’s quartet, the Borgans, plus the excellent girl's sextet, the Borgerettes, who vied for popularity and the chance to sing at the Service Clubs in our community and to give many programs all over the Panhandle of Texas. We grew to have a seventy-five voice Acapella Choir, with three feeder choirs: the Boy's Chorus, the girl's Chorus and a Mixed choir. The Acapella Choir attained such skill and artistry that they won, for the first time in the history of Borger high School, Sweepstakes honors in the Interscholastic league, along with Amarillo, a school many times our size. We won the same award, year after year and our trophies are still on display in Borger High School. The Choir not only sang with excellent interpretation, the finest choral literature, but sight read in competition, difficult eight part minor choral music.
These are the traditions which we started in Borger High School: All Conference Choir of the National Music Educators Association, All State Choir, a big Musical Production every year (beginning with " H.M.S. Pinafore" by Gilbert and Sullivan), Community Easter Sunrise Service. and singing at every special occasion in the Community (approximately 150 programs a year), for Federated Clubs, Service Clubs, Churches and Chamber of Commerce.
While I was Head of the Vocal Music Department of Borger high School, I was selected to serve on the State Curriculum Committee for High School Music. For four years, I judged in the Oklahoma State Finals of the Interscholastic League Contests in Vocal Ensembles and Choirs for High Schools from all over the State. In order to be eligible to compete in the finals, they were required to have won Superior rating in their Regional Contests.
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