Friday, December 05, 2014

The Twenty-Four Days of Christmas Day Five

A Musical Evening

 With Jack South

Music has always been a rather important part of the Advent celebration for my family.  This was the time of year when we would come home from school to hear The Messiah or George Bernard Shaw's collection of Christmas Carols on the record player.  My brothers were in the band in junior high, my sisters and I all played piano, and I was in the orchestra in junior high.  There were always Christmas recitals and band concerts and orchestra concerts to attend in December.

Last night our local junior and senior high school had their Christmas band concerts.  Since two of my dear friends play in these bands, I was invited.  

Jack South snuck into my bag and went with me.  

I did not get quite as many pictures of Jack as he wanted ~ apparently he had visions of being on stage with the musicians and enjoying the music up close and inside the tubas.  Wouldn't that have made a picture?!

The kids were terrific.  We were astonished at the size of the sixth-grade beginning band.  These are the kids who picked up instruments for the first time in August/September.  I doubt that many of these children knew how to read music before they started band, and most of them had never handled these instruments before.  But they have done a remarkable job learning their instruments and the music, and gave a performance to be proud of.  They were way beyond Mary Had A Little Lamb or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Their repetoire included Up On The House Top and Jingle Bells.  Their director (and their parents!) may be very proud of this group.

The seventh-grade intermediate band was of particular interest to me as one of my friends is in this band.  She plays the French Horn ~ one of my favorite instruments.  This was a small group but they did a lovely job as well.  Especially the French Horn section!

The eighth-grade group in our town is larger and many of these students get to march with the High School during football season.  It was obvious that these students have been working hard for several years!

The High School band (pictured above in their concert attire) was marvelous.  They did Sleigh-Ride, a Fantasia on the Ukrainian Bell Carol, and finally a medley of songs from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  They even had a sax combo who did a piece and did it extraordinarily well.  The bassoons were particularly well done.  

The High School band performance was touching.  It was the first time in a year that their director had been able to be on the podium.  He has been battling cancer for the past year, and it has not been an easy battle.  Our church has had him on our prayer list and several times over the past few months we have gotten updates and been asked to increase our prayers for him.  I had never met the man before but had been praying for him, and seeing the answer to those prayers was moving. 

The evening ended with the High School jazz combo.  Oh my goodness!  These kids are fantastic!  The students in this particular group are musicians to their core.  I wish I had recorded this for you.  The performance was terrific to hear but also a LOT of fun to watch.  The director would snap out the beat to the song and get them started, and then he would walk over to the corner of the stage and just let them go with it.  His trust was not misplaced; they handled it beautifully!

Even though they did not have a bassoon in the combo.

At the end of the evening, my two friends (who happen to be sisters) agreed to take Jack up to the stage so he could pose for you.  

He was thrilled.

I think I have a new tradition!  

See you next year, band!

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