307 Verona,
Sherwood, AR 72120


December 21, 2018

By Spencer Watson

The happy singers, led by teacher Tami Dickerson, came in elf attire, reindeer shirts and Santa hats.

Head Start students after caroling, with oranges given to them by Chancellor Cam Patterson.

Head Start students after caroling, with oranges given to them by Chancellor Cam Patterson.

“Oh my goodness! Just look at you guys!” gushed Patterson as he welcomed the 3- and 4-year-old guests to his office, bent over to greet them face-to-face, then offered high fives with a resounding “booyah” to each one.

The preschool class was continuing an 18-year tradition of caroling the UAMS chancellor just before the winter holidays, though this was the first concert for Patterson, who joined UAMS as chancellor in June 2018.

After lining up so as to be flanked by a handmade saxophone and plastic guitar, the singers launched into a jazzy rendition of the iconic holiday classic “Jingle Bells” as Patterson and numerous onlookers danced and swayed, many with cameras in hand recording the whole holly jolly proceeding. All verses covered, the sax and guitar each got their turn for a “solo” before all singers came back in for a final, emphatic chorus.

Afterward, Patterson handed out clementine Cutie oranges to each student, and they collectively gave the chancellor a green Christmas card signed by the class.

Pictures taken, the group moved on to visit Richard Turnage, M.D., vice chancellor for clinical programs and CEO of UAMS Medical Center. For him, five elves split off and gave a five-line elf cheer full of well-wishing before the entire ensemble broke into “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Head Start students sing "Jingle Bells" in the chancellor's office.

Head Start students sing “Jingle Bells” in the chancellor’s office.

From Turnage’s office in Hospital Administration, the group progressed to the hospital’s Lobby Café, where they split into two lines, girls on one side and boys on the other. In this formation, the children performed a “Where Is Santa?” song to the tune of “Frère Jaques,” then those in reindeer shirts took center stage as the whole group sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Finally, the youngsters repeated “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the gathered audience of UAMS staff, guests and patients who were passing through the hospital lobby.

Their concert tour complete, the preschoolers then headed toward the exit, but not before stopping to take a picture with a group of UAMS police officers they encountered as they waited for their bus.

 

"Elves" caroling in the hospital's Lobby Cafe.

“Elves” caroling in the hospital’s Lobby Cafe.

UAMS Head Start serves 928 preschoolers at 17 sites in Pulaski County. UAMS has administered the Head Start program in Pulaski County since 1998.