PBS special to showcase Gulf school choirs

The PBS special “Tim Janis’ Celebrate America” will showcase 11 southeast Louisiana and Gulf Coast Mississippi high school/middle school choirs, with special soloist Gabe Ragusa, of Denham Springs.

The special premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WYES-TV, Channel 12, in New Orleans, and repeats at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The award-winning Janis has a strong belief to celebrate and keep music education in schools. To date “Celebrate America” has featured more than 22,000 students, including well-known singer Jackie Evancho.

“I am so glad to be here with ‘Celebrate America’ in the Southern Louisiana Gulf Coast Region. The students and the teachers did a wonderful job, I can’t wait to share it with the community,” Janis said.

Choirs on the show will include: Ursuline Academy, under the direction of Kimberly Hilliard; Ponchatoula High School, under the direction of Stephanie Robertson; Lakeshore High School, under the direction of Henrietta Faciane; H.L. Bourgeois High School, under the direction of Nicole Webb and Angela Jones-Landry; L.W. Higgins High School AFJROTC, under the direction of Command Sgt. Maj. O.J. Gibson; Isidore Newman High School/Middle School, under the direction of Anthony Sears; St. Mary’s Dominican High School, under the direction of Brenda Castillo; Destrehan High School, under the direction of Michael Townsend; Gulfport High School, under the direction of David Chavers; Vandebilt High School, under the direction of Sarah Todd; O. Perry Walker Charter High School, under the direction of Joseph Knox; and special guest Ragusa, making his debut singing “Nessum Dorma.”