The cure for bah-humbug at William Kelley High School
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Ringing in the season in festive fashion, William Kelley High School presented its annual concert, Holiday Celebration , last Monday evening in the auditorium. The annual event featured performances by three bands conducted by Kristine Peterson and the choir directed by Mary Carroll.
Band selections ranged from classics like “Carol of the Bells,” to more modern pieces chosen by Peterson and her student musicians.
“We do have a pretty good music library, “she said,” but at the beginning of the year I order new music and the kids get to help with that, too. This year the high school band chose a piece by Manheim Steamroller.”
In all, the sixth grade band performed five pieces, the junior high played four and the concert band treated the audience to two.
“As they get older, the pieces get longer and more complicated,” explained Peterson.
In spite of the complexity of the music and hard work involved in preparing for Holiday Celebration, however, kids are reaping benefits of which they may not be aware.
“These groups are very important in improving students’ learning ability. Students who participate perform better in school because they have to use so much more of their brains as musicians,” said Mary Carroll, director of the WKHS choir.
The choir, made up of 27 students, grades 9-12, performed three songs. Carroll said she focuses on teaching a variety of music to her singers.
“It’s always important to do a couple of different styles to expose students to all the different kinds of music out there,” she explained. “We try to get a little from that broad spectrum.”
This year, the choir, like the band, performed the classic, “Carol of the Bells.” It sang the modern favorite “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” and concluded with “’Twas in the Moon of Wintertime,” originally written by Jesuits to teach the Huron tribe about the birth of Jesus, Carroll said.
This special seasonal event was free of charge and open to the community, but donations were collected to help fund the band and choir’s upcoming trip to Nashville, Tenn.
“Every four years we do a big trip like this. We want to broaden their horizons by taking them to a city well known for its music,” Peterson said. But while broadening horizons is important, the cost of doing so is beyond the reach of some students. Peterson said she hopes donations from community members and local businesses will continue until they reach their goal of $17,000—a total of $7000 had been raised before the night of the concert. $200 was raised on Monday night through audience donations.
Carroll said that these bigger trips not only provide students new experiences, they help students connect with one another.
“The benefits are that [these trips] build camaraderie…it helps us to become more of a family,” which she said enhances their performance as musicians.
To donate money for the WKHS music students’ trip to Nashville, contact the school at (218) 226-4437.