Hickory Hill elementary school, VH1 honor slain music teacher

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Hickory Hill elementary school honored its slain music teacher with an end-of-year performance Friday night.

These are the tunes Chris Waters handpicked at the beginning of this school year.

“Back in September we were planning our production for the year. I can remember sitting at table planning with Mr. Waters,” Belle Forest Community School Principal Lori Phillips said of Chris Waters, who police said was murdered in December.

They said Waters was a passionate music teacher who cared more about his kids than anyone else.

"He always taught them to give their best selves, do their best and push beyond what they felt their abilities were. They still channel that today," dance instructor Karlos Nichols said.

Waters died on December 9, 2016 when police said he was murdered during a possible home invasion. He had recently purchased the home where it happened.

"Every day I cry. Everyday that’s where my mind goes and I get emotional. Its just very very hard," his mother Lisa Waters said.

She drove in with her family from Nashville for the performance.

“That’s what he was living for and his instrument to be able to teach it, see the passion in his children,” she said.

Before his death, Waters was already involved with VH1's Save the Music Foundation. The group donated a piano and $10,000 to the school Friday.

“When I heard the news in December of course was so crushed and knew we had to do something. Even just a little something,” VH1's Jaclyn Rudderow said.

The organization's mission played in to Waters’ goal in life.

"In Hickory Hill it shines a light in what's otherwise a dark community that there's still hope and children who want to change their community and their world," Nichols said.

They said this way, he'll continue inspiring students for years to come.