Melanie Tlusty
Melanie Tlusty

Under the direction of Merrill native Melanie Tlusty, students at Skyview Middle School in Oakdale, MN, added their voices to a 5,000-member choir at the Mall of America Dec. 5. The singers filled the mall’s rotunda on all four floors.
The choir paid tribute to Zach Sobiech, a singer and songwriter from Lakeland, MN, who died in May 2013 at the age of 18 from a rare form of bone cancer.
The event was organized by Twin Cities radio station, KS95. The station holds an annual two-day radiothon to benefit for the Children's Cancer Research Fund and Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. Sobiech got his first big break during the radiothon last year.
At Mall of America, the huge choir sang Sobiech’s song, “Clouds,” which debuted on KS95 last December. The song has received more than 8.8 million hits on YouTube and reached #1 on the iTunes singles chart. Sobiech had written the song as a farewell to his family and friends.
Skyview Middle School, where Tlusty serves as director of choral music, brought the largest group of singers to the event. Including staff, students and their families, they numbered over 100. 
Tlusty is a 2008 graduate of Merrill High School and 2013 graduate of UW-River Falls with a degree in Music Education.