December 6, 2011

Ligonier Valley (PA) Middle School Holiday Concert




     December 1961. At the time I was in my senior year at Kensington High School in Buffalo, New York.

     In spite of the fact that my singing voice is the equivalent of producing notes from my far out-of-tune autoharp, the fact that I was being dismissed from class to participate in the annual Christmas concert was truly attractive.


     Yes, back then they had authentic Christmas concerts, not the watered down holiday concerts the schools produce today. But I digress…

     The actual choir sang from the stage, backed up by a choir which occupied about a quarter of the auditorium seat.  It was fortunate because I could join this support group with no one knowing that I was just lip-syncing. Nary a note flowed from my voice box.

     I joined the choir each year because it was an excuse not to attend classes during the rehearsals. And, in an altruistic manner, I wanted to be a part of the supporting cast.

     The production always began innocuously, a few singers on stage offering musical carols. Then they came to the well-known carol O Come. All Ye Faithful. They reverently began the second verse:

Sing choirs of angels…

     That’s when the heart of the program started. As the words Sing choirs of angels were heard, the stage curtains rose and a huge on-stage chorus exultantly raised the musical carol.

     The rest of the Christmas program was exhilarating. Or so the audience thought, until the combined choir presented their masterpiece: Handel’s Messiah. A professional choir could not have done a better job.

     To this day when I hear the Messiah I want to belt out the music with the singers—which I do if I am in my home or car alone.  That and the second chorus of O Come All Ye Faithful always take me back to the time when I could skip classes to sing—OK, lip-sync—the musical notes. This choir was one of my best high school memories, if not the best.


     Tonight I went to my granddaughter’s holiday chorus at Ligonier Valley (PA) Middle School. It was done very nicely, the chorus, cello ensemble, and symphonic band were featured. Jordan was in the chorus. The chorus selections were It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Joy Be Yours in the Morning, and Christmas Waltz. It was enjoyable listening to the singing.

     The four cello players did a great job. I think it must be unusual for a school to have a four-girl cello band, as the Ligonier Valley Middle School does.


     It wasn’t what I experienced at Kensington High School (which no longer exists—it was closed down).  But then, these weren’t high-schoolers. And real Christmas songs are no longer a part of most holiday programs presented by middle-schoolers.

     Hopefully my granddaughter will remember the music from her school programs as I recall those I participated in during my school years

     Well done, Ligonier Valley Middle School musicians!.



Pearl Harbor: A 1942 Radio Broadcast Script


Christmas Memories

Christmas. Whose Season Is It?



1 Comment »

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