Tuesday night, Dec. 12, holiday music and dramatic productions filled the Morgan High School auditorium and the Morgan Middle School students presented the “Celebration of the Arts.” From the opening pounding of the bucket-drummers to the closing notes of the advanced band, the delightful event truly celebrated the arts, showcasing the talent and hard work of several hundred MMS students and their teachers.
As the lights dimmed to signal the commencement of the performance, drum beats echoed through the auditorium as the Percussion Line marched from the rear of the auditorium to the front as part of their opening number “Bucket Stomp.” The lively, quick-tempo number was a perfect precursor to an evening that flowed seamlessly from one performance to another with barely a few seconds of down time as the groups changed positions on the stage.
“Percussion classes can be challenging since we have beginners and advanced players together. Challenging every student is the true goal, and when everything comes together, like tonight, it is very rewarding,” Band Director Chad McLean remarked.
Following the Percussion Line, the Morgan Valley Chamber Orchestra Sonata Class, under the direction of Abby Beattie, performed several numbers on their violins, cellos and other stringed instruments. Their rendition of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” was especially well-received by the crowd of parents, grandparents, younger siblings and community members.
Next, the MMS Beginning Choirs took the stage to share their musical interpretations of some classical and newer holiday songs. The Boys’ Choir shared “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer!” followed by “Antiphonal Deck the Halls” while the girls sang “Starry Night of Winter” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with lyrics for the Christmas season.
Choir director Rawson Butts noted, “I was proud of what the choir students were able to do during this concert. They prepared well.”
To the delight of many of the young audience members, the next group to appear on the stage featured the beloved Dr. Seuss drama, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The young actors did a terrific job portraying the miserly Grinch and his dastardly deeds among the Whos in Whoville.
After the Grinch’s heart grew and he returned all the toys and joined the Whos for who-roast beast, the MMS Beginning Band shared two toe-tapping Christmas pieces, “Sounds of Joy” and “Up on the Housetop Rock.” A large percussion group stood out in the “Sounds of Joy” while the trumpets, winds and trombones added flair to “Up on the Housetop Rock.”
McLean commented, “These kids have progressed a lot since August. Working together to accomplish goals forms bands, and these students have a great time together every day.”
The ensuing performance featured the advanced choir. This talented group shared a version of “Carol of the Bells” that wonderfully blended the maturing voices of this choir. In their second number, the strong altos and sopranos exhibited their talents in the presentation of “The Shepherd’s Carol.”
“Both choirs sounded great…I am excited to continue to move forward and see what these kids can do,” Choir Director Rawson Butts predicted as he looks to the future of Morgan County choirs.
The drama department presented the penultimate number “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Their rendition was true to Schultz’s beloved TV animation and took the older members of the audience down memory lane as Snoopy, Lucy, Charlie Brown and Linus came to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
The advanced band closed the evening with three excellent yuletide selections. “Eine Kleine Christmas,” a holiday medley, featured all sections of the band while giving a nod to the strong trumpet section. The “Holiday Swing-Along” danced through several Christmas favorites including “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Let it Snow.” Once again, several sections were featured, but solos by the saxophones and clarinets stood out. The final number of the evening, “Holiday Galop” did not disappoint. Billed as “a cheerful musical gift that’s a perfect addition to any seasonal concert,” this mix of “Jingle Bells,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” closed the evening on a high note!
“As a whole, this is the most talented second-year band I’ve had since I started the program in Morgan. These kids share a camaraderie that helps them make great music,” complimented McLean.
Congratulations to Morgan Middle School for sharing their talents and holiday spirt to help the community celebrate the arts and the holiday season!