Now Kids Are Skipping School to Serenade Their Teachers

Now Kids Are Skipping School to Serenade Their Teachers

Joy Foraste and Margit Foley, both mothers of Hingham Middle School students, organized the surprise that has made local celebrities out of Christopher Landis and his now-husband, Joseph Michienzie, of Weymouth, Mass.

“I still get choked up watching it,” said Mr. Michienzie, who helped Ms. Foraste and Ms. Foley execute their plan on Dec. 21 at Tavern on the Wharf in Plymouth, Mass., where the couple held a rehearsal brunch the day before their wedding. A bartender at the restaurant shot the video that made waves on Facebook.

Mr. Landis, 43, has been the choir director at Hingham Middle School six years. He and Mr. Michienzie, a tailor, got engaged on Christmas Eve in 2016. They kept their engagement quiet for months because Mr. Landis wasn’t sure how his students would react to him having a husband. But word got out last year.

“At the end of the summer, Margit and I heard he was getting married. He’s the best teacher, and he’s got this great energy, and he makes every school function fun. We thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to do something for his wedding?” said Ms. Foraste of Hingham. The women emailed their fellow choir parents, asking if their sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade singers were up for participating in a surprise appearance to celebrate Mr. Landis’ wedding, and making sure they felt no pressure to be involved.

“We hoped we’d get at least 15 kids to do it,” said Ms. Foraste, who was worried about availability during the busy run-up to Christmas. Instead, 50 of the 70 choir members committed. Four weeks of secret Sunday evening rehearsals at the James Library in Norwell, under the direction of Dona Maher, a colleague of Mr. Landis’s who gives private piano and voice lessons, resulted. Students had to finagle their partial absence from school that Friday with the principal, some of them missing lunch to be excused.

“I was flabbergasted by how much they cared,” Mr. Landis said. “As a middle-school teacher, I see students struggling so much with trying to figure out who they are,” he said. “Some of the students singing have inner struggles, and things I know about going on at home. I was so glad they were there, feeling the love in the room and knowing everything’s going to be O.K., that things do work out.”

“I Doozy” is an every-so-often feature highlighting people, places or things related to Weddings.

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