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800 ISD 4th Graders Raise Their Voices in Holiday Tradition

Posted December 2, 2016

800 Independence School District fourth grade students rang in the holiday season at the 31st Annual Mayor’s Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 4 at the Community of Christ Auditorium.

The program is a wonderful celebration of the holidays and is also aimed at raising awareness and helping those in need through the Community Services League. Since its inception, the concert has raised more than $320,000 for CSL. A group of Jackson County women, among them former First Lady Bess Wallace Truman, were inspired in June 1916 to make a difference in their community to help local families. These powerhouse women founded CSL.

When selecting music for the concert, this year’s conductor, Madora Graffeo who teaches music at Fairmount Elementary, reached out to Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry and Bess Truman. “I knew Bess Truman was a founding member of Community Services League, so I thought it would be neat for the fourth graders to sing her favorite Christmas song this year,” Graffeo explained. Even though Daniel didn’t know his grandmother’s favorite song, he agreed the Truman’s loved returning to Independence for the holidays so Graffeo selected “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. Originally recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby, it became a beloved song for America’s soldiers stationed overseas during World War II. The opening verse for “I’ll be Home for Christmas” was sung by McLane Graffeo, Mrs. Graffeo’s fourth grade son.

Jeannae Segura-Brown, with the Independence School District, was the musical coordinator.  In addition, the Truman and Van Horn High School Concert Choirs performed, as did the Young MAIsterSingers of the Music Arts Institute and the Spirit of Independence Concert Band. Ushers for the event were members of the Truman, William Chrisman and Van Horn High Schools Junior ROTC and the William Chrisman ACE Club.