Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1090188

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 28, 2014
12 Days of Christmas Spirit

Rehearsing for Wednesday evening

By David Hotle | Dec 09, 2013
About 70 students from St. James School will be involved in the annual Christmas program, which will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Washington Community Center. Prior to the performance, instrumental students will perform for the audience. Many of the songs director Kelsey Allendes remembers performing when she was growing up.

Growing up in a town of about 2,000 people and having a natural affinity for music, Kelsey Allendes always looked forward to the Christmas season and her performances in Christmas plays.
From a young age, she always took a leadership role with music in such ways as playing piano in church. Living in the smaller community, she said that with fewer people involved she had a greater opportunity to have larger parts in musical performances. With the beginning of her teaching career with St. James Catholic Church and the Washington School District, Allendes is finally getting the chance to direct her own Christmas performance. She has been working with about 70 students from St. James School to prepare for their annual Christmas performance that will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Washington Community Center. Before the performance, she said that several students who play instruments have signed up to play for the audience. She said with this being her first year in Washington and her first year teaching, she hopes to bring a few new surprises to help people get into the Christmas spirit.
“It has been a lot of fun for me, especially since it is the first show I have put together on my own,” she said. “I love Christmas, so it is a lot of fun to be able to teach the kids these Christmas songs and try to put together a nice show to put everyone in the Christmas mood.”
This morning the St. James students took the stage at the community center for a rehearsal of the performance before the curtain goes up for an audience on Wednesday. As the students performed many traditional Christmas songs, as well as some newer ones, Allendes – the new K-5 music teacher at St. James —  moved around the stage making slight adjustments to such things as the students’ placement and the manger sitting at the front of the stage that the fifth-graders huddled around.
Saying Christmas is a time for “family and faith,” Allendes said she is happy working at a Catholic school, as this gives her the opportunity to incorporate the religious aspects of Christmas.  
Originally from Calmar, Allendes said that she was fortunate enough to get her first teaching job in Washington. She said that the audience can expect traditional Christmas songs as well as some of the newer jazzy carols. She also said that the entire program is eventually connected to the real meaning of Christmas.
“One of the songs I did when I was in elementary school with my teacher who greatly influenced me,” Allendes said. “Several of the songs in the program are songs I remember doing that I have liked.”
She said that the performance promises to give the audience a 75-minute celebration with about 15 songs and skits between the musical numbers to bring a smile to even the most hardened Scrooge’s face.
“I really think that it will help put them in the Christmas spirit,” she said. “I think it will help them remember the true meaning of Christmas, and I think they will really enjoy what our young people in Washington can do. We have a lot of talented people in Washington, and they have worked really hard.”

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