MASON — Over $700 was raised for less fortunate local families when the fine arts departments from Bend Area schools joined Sunday to present one of the county’s largest benefit concerts, the annual Bend Area CARE Christmas Concert.
The event featured the Wahama concert band, choir, visual arts department, world music class, dance class, and piano students. Also performing was the New Haven Elementary School Choir, as well as the fifth and sixth grade band.
Proceeds from the admission went to the CARE organization’s “Kids for Christmas” program. The money raised provides food vouchers for the program’s qualifying families, according to CARE member Leonard Koenig.
Three musical selections were presented by the fifth and sixth grade band, including “Jolly Old St. Nick,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Up on the Housetop.” The band is under the direction of Matt Bradley. Kimberly Bond directed the New Haven Elementary School Choir, also in three songs. They included “Over the River,” “Do You Hear,” and “We Sing Gloria.”
The Wahama Concert Band played “Carol of the Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Christmas Festival Overture,” and “Christmas Spectacular,” and was led by Matt Bradley, director. Rachel Reynolds directed the Wahama Choir in “A Holiday Road of Carols,” “In Winter,” “Amazing Grace” with descant by Sophia Russell and Adrianna Boswell, “I Wonder as I Wander” with flutists Fabrienne Franke and Carolee Hoffman, and “O Holy Night.”
New to the concert this year was a traditional West African drum and dance, “Gota,” by members of the Wahama dance and world music classes. The number was directed by Bradley and Reynolds.
Between performances, a slideshow by students in the visual arts department at Wahama was shown. These students are taught by Susan Parrish. A number of art pieces were also displayed in the gymnasium hallway and foyer.
Listed on the program to present student piano recitals were Ashton Broughman, Owen Richardson, Luana Mestre, Kegan Peters, Evan Whited, Addisyn Williams, Tabitha Grimm, Carson Gibbs, Nicholas Hendel, Leah Hoffman, Fabienne Franke, Dillon Morrison, Emma Knapp, and Aaron Beard. A few of the students were unable to attend, however.
The finale of the showcase was a combined ensemble of the elementary and high school choirs in “Joy to the World.” The number featured soloists Ella Edwards, Nick Miller, Wes Woolard, and Haley King, with Reynolds on the marimba and Bradley on the djembe.
Also assisting with the event were Addisyn Williams, Peyton Ingels, and Mary Beth Norman.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.