Heidi Zemach for SCN
One hundred and sixty or so children in Kindergarten through second grades, dressed in their cute pajamas, with paper elf, reindeer hats or bowlers, delighted a jam-packed gymnasium filled with adoring parents and grandparents at Seward Elementary School Tuesday night as they performed their Winter Wonderland K-2 concert. They were joined by a somewhat older group of students who make up the elementary school’s beginning and advanced bands. The beginning band is augmented these days with a banjo, a fiddle, acoustic guitar and electric bass.
Seward School’s lone music teacher Breighley Sexton, a very tall young woman, towered above the crowd as she announced the upcoming tunes, conducted, and accompanied the students on the piano. A large green paper fir tree, handsomely decorated with paper decoration cutouts, provided the main backdrop.
It was a riotous good time-especially for those lucky enough to find seats. Some in the crowd involuntarily burst into song now and then, and even did the body movements that they’ve probably seen their child doing at home for weeks. A baby brother who had a great view of the students from atop his father’s shoulders, copied Ms. Sexton’s conducting style perfectly. Parents held up all brands of electronic devises, hoping to capture their child’s performance, although some seated on bleachers in the back grumbled that their camera’s didn’t focus close up.
A line of 60-odd antler-clad Kindergartners that stretched clear across one length of the gym to the other performed the Reindeer (Hokey) Pokey. They cracked up the audience members as they turned their butts around to shake them all about.
Small groups of students performed short one-verse songs in unison like Jingle Bells, Where is Santa?, Bingo, and We Three Kings. The older soloists then raced back to the band, grabbed up their instruments, and played the same thing on their flutes, trumpets or clarinets. Younger students also got to sing in small groups and to accompany the singing on drums, Metallophone, xylophone, Glockenspiel, and bells.
The audience really cracked up when a few different grade levels of choristers, singing the same song while standing on bleachers on either side of the room got out of synch. As one group raced the other, speeding up the song in their enthusiasm, Sexton, and the helpful teacher conducting the second group frantically tried to corral them back together.
The holiday concert was a huge undertaking for Sexton, coming so soon after the annual Veterans Day concert, and in the wake of the middle and high school choir performances yet to come. Only a Scrooge, or someone uncomfortable in large, tight crowds, could fail to find the cuteness and enthusiasm of these children heartwarming.