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Jingle All the Way

May 16, 2013 - Phyllis Sigal
It was a night of a thousand thank you's. ... not to mention lots of laughs and lots of tears.

Family and friends, as well as former and present students came together May 10 to congratulate Joyce Jingle, Triadelphia Middle School music teacher extraordinaire, for her 25 years of putting on the school's Spring Musical production.

The evening of accolades was the brainchild of Dan Criswell Sr., who has been working with Joyce for 23 of the 25 years, helping with sound, lights and videotaping the show.

He believes that she was due such an evening because of all the hard work she's done over the years putting that show together.

And that's no easy task. Organizing 180-some middle school students doesn't sound like a day at the beach to me!

But Joyce has a way of not only organizing these kids, but drawing talent from them that they had no idea even existed.

My favorite quote from a story I did last month about Jingle came from Vicki Flink, a retired co-worker of Joyce's.

She recalled a student who told her, "'I didn't think I could do any of this, but Mrs. Jingle said I could. And I can.'"

Countless students have discovered "I CAN" over the past 25 years.

But, if you are counting ... close to 4,000 middle school students have graced the stage for the annual Spring Musical.

That's a lot of kids. That's a lot of self-confidence developed ... a lot of talent tapped ... a lot of supporters of the arts nurtured ... a lot of kids in awe of their music teacher.

Many got the chance to say so either from the stage, via a letter read by Dan or from the video screen.

Some congratulated her on the 25 years, others mentioned what an impact she had on their musical careers, a few reprised their numbers from past shows.

Both of my kids had great experiences in their middle school music years because of Joyce.

In a nod to their Supremes act from one of their shows, my daughter, Amanda, and two of her friends, Erica Simpson Benda and Allison O'Konski Skibo, sent a video of them stating: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T ... That's what we have for you, Mrs. Jingle!"

My son Leland recorded a message telling Mrs. Jingle that "Triadelphia was a time I realized it was OK to be who I was, and you were a huge part of that. You made it OK to stay an alto through seventh grade. You made it cool to get those big Spring Musical solos ... You were a teacher that instilled a sense of discipline while teaching us it was OK to have fun at the same time."

In a tear-jerking tribute, Kyle Cook, who served as a student teacher with Joyce this year, announced that he's decided he wants to teach middle school music because of his experience with her. That brought a big round of applause along with the tears.

Many said they attribute success in their lives — musical or otherwise — to having had Joyce as a teacher.

One former student, Corinne Tork, who is a singer on a cruise ship right now, promised to be there to celebrate the 50th year of the TMS Spring Musical.

That sentiment rang true throughout the audience. I think we'd all like to see that happen.

Congratulations, Joyce! And here's to another 25!

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