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Wilson Middle School Choir Brings Holiday Cheer to Fox Chase Cancer Center

PHILADELPHIA (December 21, 1999) -- Holiday songs by the Wilson Middle School Wildcats Choir rang through the halls of Fox Chase Cancer Center, delighting patients, their families and Fox Chase staff.

The choir, named after their school mascot, began caroling in the outpatient area and then visited the department of radiation oncology and various nursing floors of the hospital. Each musical selection ended with warm smiles and resounding applause for the seventh and eighth grade students.

"Everyone just loved the choir's performance. This was a special holiday treat for us at Fox Chase and the students really seemed to enjoy their visit too," said Kathie Reed-McKain, Director of Volunteer Services at Fox Chase who helped coordinate the students' visit.

The 35-member choir was formed last year with the help of Elizabeth McAnally, a music teacher at Wilson Middle School and the choir's director. The choir's vision and primary goal is to use their music to provide a service to the community. Fifteen members of the choir came to sing at Fox Chase. The visit was the choir's community-service debut. They plan to visit nursing homes in the spring.

"The students have been rehearsing eight holiday songs since October," said McAnally. "They will learn at least 10 songs for 'golden oldies' performances at the nursing homes."

The Wilson Middle School at Cottman and Loretto Ave., Northeast Philadelphia, is one of Fox Chase's adopted schools. The Adopted School Program, initiated by the Board of Education, began about five years ago and gives organizations the opportunity to adopt schools in their community. The program enhances education by giving students opportunities for learning that they might not otherwise have. For example, at Fox Chase, students may visit a scientific laboratory or listen to a presentation by a Fox Chase staff member. The Center may also participate in the school's career day.

Wilson Middle School has five full-time music teachers and two choirs. The school has an established community system for learning, whereby students can concentrate sections of their education according to specific areas of interest.

Traditionally, only students in the performing arts section would have had the opportunity to sing. When McAnally began teaching at the school, however, she asked the principal's permission to invite students from the other sections into the choir and, thus, began the Wilson Middle School Wildcats "community service" Choir.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 37 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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