North Babylon High School’s winter concert is still three weeks away, but the choir’s most special performance of the holiday season took place Thursday morning.
Sixteen-year-old Alexis Small has been in the choir since she was a freshman, and her mother, U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Scheralda Brown-Small, 49, has never missed a concert. Brown-Small got the call in October that her unit had been activated and that she will report to Texas for training Monday before being deployed to Afghanistan on New Year’s Day. She is part of the medical corps and will work to help soldiers adjust to and cope with their work there.
Her deployment means that she won’t be home for Christmas or her daughter’s concert Dec. 20. Brown-Small reached out to school officials asking to sit in on a choir class. Choir director Christina Henderson, 34, of Yaphank, said the school made a last-minute decision Wednesday to turn the Thursday morning rehearsal into a performance. The choir surprised Small with her mother’s presence.
“It’s an amazingly brave thing she’s doing for our country and we love her for it,” Henderson said.
The choir performed holiday songs like “Carol of the Bells" and several patriotic favorites, including “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.” They wrapped up the performance with “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” asking for Brown-Small’s protection during her yearlong tour. By the end, both Brown-Small and her daughter were reduced to tears.
“I’m so glad [that I came],” said Brown-Small. “I don’t think I missed a thing.”