Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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December 13, 2012

Kinda fancy

Beautiful scenes will be on display during Athens High’s Christmas Tour of Homes

ATHENS — The happiness of being young makes some high school students sing with joy – literally!

The art of singing is so important to some Athens High School students that they are working diligently  to make the 2012 Christmas Tour of Homes a successful fundraiser.

Kern Railsback, choir director of Athens High School for the past 12 years, said Show Choir members must pay half of the $800 fee for a special April 2013 competition in Winter Park, Colo.  The other half is the subject of an attempt to raise money. Railsback said there are other things “planned along the way” to raise money for the trip.

The Home Tour will be Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

The homes on the Athens tour are located at 805 Rico Dr.; 217 Trailridge St.; and 2504 CR 4825. There is also a segment of the tour which moves to the Land of Lights, a huge Christmas decoration facility owned and operated by Garland and Patsy Pool on Loop 7.

The Trailridge address is the home of Railsback and his wife, Barbara. There are rooms with different holiday themes in the home, and in the yard, decorations such as angels, Santas, snowmen,  a village, a Nativity and music carolers can be found.  There is also a decorated Christmas tree in every room.

The Rico Drive address is the home of Melanie Warmke, whose daughter, Katy Rose, is a student in the Show Choir.

The home on County Road 4825 is the residence of Maria Ogburn, one of the choir students’ friends.

At all the homes, members of the Show Choir and parents of the choir members will greet visitors. Refresh-ments will be available.

The source of enjoyment of the tour is not just to help finance a trip for the Show Choir students in competition.  It is also a way for homeowners to show their decorations, and to illustrate the depth of their love of Christmas.

For Railsback, it goes much deeper into the music realm.

“I love music and to sing,” said Railsback, “and I believe it is a great way to express gladness of the heart. It teaches kids discipline, and musical histories and gives them the strength to compete.”

The Show Choir has 18 members who are sophomores through seniors at Athens High School.

Show Choir Alto 2 Azsia Hearn has been under Railsback’s musical instruction since she was 7 years old. She is 17 today.

“I just love choir,” Hearn said. “It’s the whole atmosphere, the joy of singing, putting together such a great performance for an audience. I feel passionate about it. I feel pure happiness and energy.  That sums it up.”

Hearn said she will major in athlete training. She is also taking courses at Trinity Valley Community College and plans on moving to a four-year college — perhaps the University of Texas at Arlington or University of Texas at Tyler. With her athletic training degree, she will consider working at the Olympic Headquarters in Colorado.

To visit the homes for the 2012 Christmas Tour, you can pay the suggested $20 donation and receive a ticket at any one of the three houses on the tour. A ticket is required for the Land of Lights.

Tickets also may be purchased at the high school office through Jan Poyner (903-677-6920), at South Athens Elementary (903-677-6970), or any of the houses during the tour.

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