The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 26, 2014

Mike Pound: Carl Junction singing group heading to Hammons Field in Springfield

When I was in the sixth grade at St. Xavier’s Catholic School in Junction City, Kan., Sister Suzanne, our music teacher, told me not to sing.

So I didn’t.

It’s possible that Sister Suzanne asked me not to sing because she was afraid that my vocal talents would intimidate my classmates.

I mean, anything is possible.

More likely, she asked me not to sing because I sounded like Nancy Grace arguing with a bagpipe.

After being asked not to sing, I have avoided singing opportunities for pretty much the rest of my life. You can argue whether that is a good thing or not, but in order to err on the side of caution, I have opted to remain musically mute.

However, had I been in Craig Smith’s sixth-grade music group, the Treblemakers, I’m sure I would have done everything to resume my singing career.

Craig is a music teacher at Carl Junction Intermediate School. He also is a baseball fan, and when he’s not teaching kids how to sing, he’s teaching Little Leaguers how to field and hit.

This is Craig’s first year at the Intermediate School, and he let his passions for music and baseball sort of harmonize.

Shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, all 75 members of the Treblemakers will march onto Hammons Field in Springfield and sing the national anthem before the Springfield Cardinals baseball game.

“It’s really a unique and quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Craig said.

I’m a baseball fan, and I have to say that in all the years I’ve watched the game, I’ve met at most one or maybe two people who sang the national anthem before a professional ballgame.

Craig said just getting to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a large crowd is a pretty big deal, and he made sure that wasn’t lost on the kids in the choir. Craig, whose dad spent 26 years in the U.S. Navy, places great importance on having his students not only sing patriotic music but also understand what the music should mean to them.

Most music people will tell you that “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one of the toughest songs to sing. Craig told me that the hardest thing for young singers is that it has a very low range and a very high range.

“So the hardest part is finding the right key to sing it in,” he said.

In case you’re wondering, Craig said the Treblemakers will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the key of A flat.

I would be lying if I told you that I knew what that meant.

Before the game, the Treblemakers will be given a behind-the-scenes tour of the baseball stadium and also will get a chance to receive autographs from some of the players.

But Craig and the other teachers at the Intermediate School didn’t want to make the May 3 game just about the Treblemakers. After talks with officials with the Springfield Cardinals, the decision was made to designate Saturday, May 3, as Carl Junction Day at Hammons Field.

To help make that happen, the folks at the Intermediate School are looking to sell 350 tickets to the May 3 game. The tickets are $10, and if you have never been to Hammons Field, I can tell you that there are no bad seats in the ballpark. No matter where you sit, you feel like you’re right on top of the action.

The tickets are a bargain. Making them even more of a bargain is the fact that the Springfield Cardinals are donating $4 of every $10 Carl Junction ticket sold back to the Intermediate School music program.

If you would like to purchase tickets and be a part of Carl Junction Day at Hammons Field, you may call 417-649-5762.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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