12 Days of Christmas Spirit
The high school band will perform a Christmas concert later this week assisted by singing groups from two local elementary schools. “The Children’s Christmas Concert” will start at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday nights in the Washington Community Theater.
High school band director Don Hughes said the concert this year is similar to Christmas concerts in the past. Many of the tunes the band will play are Christmas-time staples such as “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “I Saw Three Ships” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” The band will also do modern Christmas songs in its piece “A Mariah Carey Christmas.”
However, the concert has never been performed on two nights as it is this year. Another addition this year is that the band will be led by guest conductor Katie Streeby. Streeby is a student teacher from Iowa Wesleyan College. Streeby spent the first half of the fall semester working with elementary band kids in Mt. Pleasant, and has worked with the Washington High School band since mid-October. Thursday will mark Streeby’s concert debut as a conductor.
On Thursday, the Stewart Holiday Singers will join the band to perform some of their own numbers. The following night, Lincoln’s Sunrise Singers will share the stage with the band.
“They pretty much do their own stuff with a CD accompaniment,” Hughes said. “We all do a sing-along at the end, which we’ll put together that night.”
A few adults will join the band on some of its numbers. Gary McCurdy (tuba), Fred Stark (trombone) and Hughes himself (trumpet) will help carry some of the tunes such as “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”
“We call ourselves ‘The Ghosts of Christmas Past,’” Hughes said.
The music that night is just the half of it. The evening will be full of costumes, skits and funny antics. The band will play “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from the animated film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” A member of the band, Stephanie Evans, will even dress up as the Grinch. In one skit, a gorilla will chase a ballerina. In another skit, a member of the band will dress up as
Sponge Bob Square Pants.
The high school band has done a Christmas concert for the past 12 years. The Stewart singers have always been part of it, but this is the first year that the Lincoln Sunrise Singers have been included.
Streeby said she is excited to perform the concert. She said she has noticed marked improvement in the band since she began working with it nearly two months ago.
“Student teaching is not what I thought it would be at all,” she said. “We practice our student teaching on college music majors students, but now I’m with high schoolers. You don’t have to be the college students’ teacher but here you’re their teacher.”
Streeby said she was a little scared when she began student teaching because she didn’t know how the students would react to her and whether they would accept her authority.
“I was walking into a room where I didn’t know anybody,” she said. “I didn’t know if they were going to work with me. But both schools have been great. I’m having a lot of fun here, especially.”