MASON, W.Va. — Nearly $1,200 was raised for the family of Kaycee Rainey when Wahama High School and New Haven Elementary School music and visual arts departments joined for a benefit Christmas Concert Saturday.
Rainey was a staff member at New Haven Elementary School and passed away recently due to COVID-19.
Participating in the concert were the Wahama High School Chorus, Wahama White Falcon Concert Band, Wahama Arts Department, New Haven Elementary School Band, and New Haven Elementary School Choir, as well as several piano students. Originally slated to be held in the Bachtel Football Stadium under the stars, the evening performances had to be moved to the gymnasium due to inclement weather.
The concert began with the fifth and sixth grade band, performing “Up on the Housetop,” “Jolly Old St. Nick,” and “Jingle Bells.” The elementary school band, as well as the Wahama concert band, is under the direction of Matthew Bradley.
The high school band performed “Carol of the Bells,” and “Christmas Spectacular Explosion.” A percussion and wind ensemble was featured in an arrangement by the band director of “O Christmas Tree,” and Bradley also arranged a rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” for a brass ensemble.
The New Haven Elementary School Choir is under the direction of Kimberly Bond, and members sang “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls.” Following the high school chorus song of “Snow Globe,” under the direction of Rachel Reynolds, the combined choirs joined for additional holiday numbers.
Also featured during the evening were student piano recitals, under the direction of Reynolds. Pianists included Mady Freeman, Jayla Simpkins, Zaylee Wood, Kailey Day, Raighanne Fields, Brooke Denkenberger, Madison Edwards, Jonathan Roush, Stephanie Sexton, Delani Warth, Jesse Lavender, and Emma Knapp. A ukulele recital was given by Trace Tennant, accompanied by Reynolds on piano.
The high school visual arts department presented a slide show in between the bands and choirs, under the direction of Susan Parrish, and assisted by Madison Edwards and Peyton Ingels. The show featured students from grades seven through twelve. Several additional art pieces were placed along the entrance to the gymnasium.
The live musical event was the first at the school since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bend Area C.A.R.E. partners with the schools each year to hold the benefit.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.