Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

December 3, 2013

Holiday concerts let students shine

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Fa-la-la-la-la, jingle bells and hallelujah!

There will be joy in this part of the world when 14 school shows are presented in 13 days.

Music lovers should plan on attending at least one because “listening to these energetic young voices will surely warm your hearts as you prepare for the holidays,” says Batesville Primary School music teacher Lori Spears. Other students will be showing off their skills on musical instruments.

Although all programs are free, some will accept freewill donations. In order by date:

About 119 Batesville Middle School and Batesville High School choral students will present “Sounds of the Season” Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in the BHS auditorium, reports choral music teacher Carla Thomas. She suggests, “Come and see the newly-formed show choir, the Batesville Sensations. This group is made up of students in grades 9-12. There were so many students who auditioned for Batesville Singers this year that we had to form two groups!” Classics include “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Home for the Holidays,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “O Holy Night.” Thomas is assisted by accompanist Vonni Williamson and cadet teacher Olivia Putnam, who will direct the sixth-grade choir.

The St. Nicholas School, Sunman, musical concert featuring the Christmas story is Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1:30 p.m. in the church hall, reports organizer and parent volunteer Laraine Kraus. About 160 parish children are involved, including students in grades K-8, CCD students and home-schoolers. Inspired by an old holiday cartoon, Kraus reports, “We just opened the Bible and started writing.” Portraying soldiers, angels, shepherds and other characters, “each class has a song” on which to harmonize. She notes, “It’s nice to see the real Christmas story played out, bringing the songs to life.”

Assisting with the program are musical directors Christopher Sedlak and Angie Myers, sister-in-law Laura Kraus and school secretary Lisa Weisbrod.

Four choirs – women’s, show, chamber and concert – will sing out at the East Central High School choral concert Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. Listeners will enjoy “lots of favorite Christmas carols, and some new songs,” reports choral director Donna Tanner. “We expect a visit from Santa Claus!”

Seventy-five Oldenburg Academy musicians in grades 9-12 will perform pieces themed to “The Light of Christmas” Sunday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. in the auditorium, according to music teachers Kris Wampler and Brian Knueven. Some of the musical selections are “He is Born, the Divine Christ Child” and “Silent and Still” by the Academy Singers; “Angels Gloria” and “The Candlelight Canon” by the Concert Choir; “A Swingin’ Holiday,” “You’re a Mean one, Mr. Grinch” and “L’Inverno – Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” by the orchestra. Wampler reports, “We are featuring some of our new steel drum pans in a selection of Christmas carols and the musical theater group is preparing a short scene also.” Gabrielle Mungcal, Christopher Jarman, Emma Schulte and Brian Ulrich will play a Tschaikowsky valse on the two concert grand pianos and vocalist Claire Dickey will sing “Ave Maria” by Schubert.

The Sunman-Dearborn Middle School choral concert Monday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the ECHS Performing Arts Center boasts segments from its chamber, concert and show choirs. Holiday carols, Santa and fun are part of the merry mix, Tanner says.

“It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas” is the theme of the Batesville Primary School concert. About 300 first- and second-graders will vocalize Monday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Batesville High School gym. The teacher observes, “It certainly will sound like Christmas, as students sing familiar songs” of the season. “Our students have been working hard at learning their songs.”

Close to 100 St. Louis School kindergartners through second-graders will present “The First Christmas” Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. in the activity center. Music teacher Christy Kushman believes, “There is nothing quite like hearing the Christmas story told by young children. Our students really love to sing, and do so very well!” Teachers of those grades plus special area teachers assist with rehearsals.

The Sunman-Dearborn Middle School band holiday concert will take place Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at the ECHS Performing Arts Center. Area residents are invited to attend “to share in the accomplishments” of a whopping 240 students in the seventh- and eight-grade concert/explorer, jazz and advanced bands, according to band director Perry Ralenkotter. “This will be the first concert for our beginners. The advanced and jazz bands will perform some very demanding literature.” Ralenkotter will be assisted by ECHS director of bands David Pallada.

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, back-to-back Sunman-Dearborn Intermediate School shows will delight. Three-hundred fifth-graders perform at 6 p.m. and 300 sixth-graders at 7 p.m. at the ECHS Performing Arts Center, says music teacher Jeannie Herman. New this year are Trash Can Junkies from each grade level, who will entertain using the cans as instruments, very similar to the musical “Stomp.” The 60-member SDIS Choir will sing three tunes and 35 EC Mini-Dancers will perform one or two numbers.

The St. Louis School band, strings and choir concert features about 40 students from all grades who participate in various ensembles. It is slated for Monday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. in the activity center and will offer “great music that will put you in the holiday spirit, performed by some of our area’s youngest performers.” Kushman points out, “Students who did not know an instrument when school started will be displaying what they have learned in the beginning band. Older band students and the choir will present favorite tunes as well as some you might not have heard before.” Strings director Christine Prindle also is involved.

About 140 musicians in grades 6-12 will participate in the Batesville Middle School and Batesville High School program Monday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. in the BHS auditorium, reports instrumental music teacher Eric Stauffer. He points out, “This concert represents some of the best that Batesville has to offer. Our students perform at a high level of proficiency and musicianship.” It will be the first public appearance for some of the sixth-graders. New this year will be the seventh- and eighth-grade combined bands using African drums in a featured piece. The BHS band will present “lots of great new music and great older music!”

“A Classic Christmas” is the theme of the Sunman Elementary School concert set for Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the ECHS Performing Arts Center. Of the 96 third-graders and 84 fourth-graders who will be onstage, music teacher Emily Jones says, “This year we are really focusing on developing our singing voices and presenting the best vocal performance we can!” She explains, “Each class will get the chance to perform a selection and then each grade level will do a large group selection.” For the show’s finale, all students will sing one song. Jones urges, “Come hear these sweet, young voices sing some of the most meaningful songs of the holiday season.”

“Festival of Lessons and Carols” is the theme of the St. Paul School, New Alsace, performance featuring 45 students in grades K-6 Thursday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the gym. Principal Janna Stonebraker notes, “The spoken word Scripture lessons will come together with fresh carol arrangements and settings of traditional songs. This cantata connects Advent through Christmastide for an elegant and worshipful Christmas program.” Cyndi Voegele is the program director and musician. Why should area residents attend? “To experience a walk with the prophets up through when the word became flesh,” Stonebraker answers. Afterwards, Santa will visit and refreshments will be served.

The East Central High School show Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center promises to be “a fabulous evening filled with holiday cheer and song!” notes band teacher David Pallada. He suggests, “Come out to hear some of the best young musicians in the area” numbering 160 in grades 9-12 in four different groups – a wind ensemble, symphony band, jazz band and percussion ensemble. The director hopes for a big crowd. “In today’s tough economic times, it’s important that everyone helps to support music education in our schools. It is through the support of the community, we here at East Central are able to provide a top-notch music education program that emphasizes hard work, dedication and excellence while promoting an atmosphere of learning and growth that is unmatched by any other school in the area.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.