The campus of Millington Central High School celebrated Homecoming during the week of Sept. 22-26.
But for one person in the halls of MCHS, Homecoming really was marked as Oct. 2. New Choir Director and 1998 MCHS graduate Calvin Ellis was focused on the Fall Choral Concert to be held at the First United Methodist Church of Millington.
At 7 p.m. last Thursday, Ellis unveiled the MCHS Choral Society to a full house. And an hour later praises reigned from the pews of FUMC about the wonderful performances, powerful solos and the organization of Ellis.
“It’s been 8 weeks,” Ellis said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, discipline to try to get these kids to understand what hard work can do and how it can pay off for them.
“I feel like it was a success,” he continued. “These kids have worked really hard the past 8 weeks trying to get used to me as their new teacher, the way I like to do things. They came together and there were some wonderful moments. Of course everything wasn’t perfect, but that’s what the year is about — progress.”
The 14 performances from the MCHS students illustrated the work of Ellis since taking over the program in August. After graduating from Millington 16 years ago, Ellis attended Ole Miss earning his degree.
Finally after 11 years in education, Ellis had a chance to return to Flag City.
“I hope I did a good job,” he said of his first MCHS concert. “I’m so glad to be home. This is where I was born and raised. I had a great experience at Millington Central High School — period. Most importantly in the choir and to give back to a program that has given me so much, means a lot. I hope they can see that in how I teach the children.”
It was apparent Ellis is teaching his students a variety of music and styles. The program was comprised of “We Are Family” arranged by Kirby Shaw featuring the MCHS Jazz/Show, “Come to the Music” by Joseph Martin, “I’m Not that Girl” arranged by Audrey Snyder featuring soloists Autumn Alexander and Jametric Harris, “Walk in Jerusalem” arranged by Rollo Dillworth featuring soloist Aliyah King and MCHS combined Women’s Choirs, “When I Fall in Love” arranged by Kirby Shaw featuring soloist Nykia Maclin, “Stop in the Name of Love” arranged by Roger Emerson featuring soloist Zykea Pegues and MCHS Women’s Honors Choir, “Rather Go Blind” performed by Tatiyana Schofield, “It Takes a Village” by Joan Szymko featuring soloists Robert Allen, Jenna Blouin, MyKhala McRae, D’Anthony Kemp, Elizabeth Germany, Kyle Lemon, Jackie Johnson and percussion Devon Imgram, “Non Nobis, Domine” by Rosephayne Powell, “Come Again. Sweet Love” by John Dowland, “Go and Tell John” by Larry Fleming featuring MCHS Chamber Choir, “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith performed by Serena Davila and piano by Destiny Bridgeforth, “You Win” by Maragaret Dorn performed by Serena Davilia and “If I Were a Boy” arranged by Ben Bram, featuring soloist Morgan Williams and Ashley Harris with the MCHS Jazz/Show Choir.
With a standing ovation after the closing of “If I Were a Boy” Ellis flashed a smile of relief, joy and pride with his official return to Millington complete.
“I really feel overjoyed,” he said. “I heard several things about how things are not well-attended in the arts in this community. They totally negated those comments by the way they showed up tonight supporting these kids.
“I want to bring arts back to the way it was when I was here,” Ellis concluded. “Audiences were packed. The community was there. The support was there with the community businesses behind it. That’s what I want to see again happen.”
The MCHS Women’s Choir members are Autumn Alexander, Emily Anderson, Taylore Ballard, Ashley Barnes, Ivy Barnes, Velandria Branch, Mya Burnett, Madelyn Decker, Lisa Dockery, Cassidy Dunn, Kelcey Foxx, Destinie Green, Taylor Heitman, Amirah Hickerson, Morgan Hobbs, Kelsy Holowell, Emily Hunter, Maggie Jenkins, Allana Johnson, T’kya Johnson, Aliyah King, Markayla Lovelace, Natasha McKay, Sierra Moon, Stephanie Nichols, Amalia Perez, Holly Robinson, Connie Shepphard, Tia Small, Azreial Smith, Kashia Smith, Holli Stokes, Symone Taylor, Kamill Terry, Demoine Thomas, Destiny Trotter, Luaren Webster, Anna Wright and Laurie Yoakum; Women’s Honor’s Choir members are Secret Brown, Jametric Harris, Brianna Henderson, Taylor Ikner, Jackie Johnson, Nykia Maclin, Zykea Pegues, Janiqua Smith, Kendra Somerville and Kamiyona Terry; Chamber Choir members are Robert Allen, Chris Anderson, Jenna Blouin, Hayley Bridges, Deion Brown, Secret Brown, William Cockerell, Kenneth Collier, Chelsea Dennis, Kellon Fenney, Drew Fitzgerald, Charity Foster, Elizabeth Germany, Ashley Harris, Jordan Howell, Jackie Johnson, D’Anthony Kemp, Kala Lemon, Kyle Lemon, Cassidy Marier, Romeo Mays, MyKhala McCrae, Steven McIntosh, Deadrick Payton, Angelo Pirtle, Katlyn Ritter, Charles Rockiermore, Calvin Rowlings, Madison Smith, John Swain, Victoria Taylor, Kamiyona Terry and Jasmine Canada; Jazz/Show Choir members are Chris Anderson, Emily Anderson, Shanika Bradford, Destiny Bridgeforth, De’Khorian Brown, Danny Chandler, Daveriz Cleaves, Serena Davila, Ashley Harris, Miracle Mayes, Tatiyana Schofield, Antwon Tate, Asya Tomlin, Sedebra Watson, Morgan Williams and Kyonaa Windham.