Holiday concert gets students in the holiday spirit


Lauren Wilmore

The rock band class performs their piece at the holiday concert assembly for the students. The rock band being included in the show is new this year.

On Dec. 12 and during second period Tuesday, the DGS Fine Arts will come together to create a musical performance — the annual Holiday Concert. Each music group will perform an array of holiday-themed pieces, showcasing their talent.

One of the elements that make the holiday concert different from other performances at DGS is it’s inclusion of all the fine arts. Glenn Williams, one of the band directors, explained some of the new additions to the concert this year.

“This year we are adding students from the Rock Band class performing as well as projecting and playing a collaborative piece from students in our Digital Music class,” Williams said.

While the songs for each musical performance change every year, there is a tradition of singing Handel’s “Hallelujah” at the holiday concert each year. Joy Belt, one of the choir directors, elaborated on the “Hallelujah” tradition.

“Each group, band, choir, orchestra all perform different music from the year before. The only song that is repeated is the Hallelujah Chorus. It has been a tradition in Downers Grove since 1923, when DGN had its first performance of the Hallelujah Chorus,” Belt said.

On the other hand, there is a whole new set of songs to be performed for the holiday concert this year. Margaret Winchell, another one of the choir directors, highlighted a few songs the choir will be singing.

“The choirs will sing a variety of music, both classical and contemporary. The program features a jazz arrangement of ‘The Christmas Waltz,’ Mozart’s Laudate Dominum, a gospel-spiritual called ‘Go Where I Send Thee,’ the Donny Hathaway tune ‘This Christmas,’ Winchell said.

Another group that will be performing in the concert is the DGS band. The band is hoping for a professional performance that reflects its effort put into practicing for the concert. Hensel explained how the students have dealt with less time than last year to practice in class.

“For this concert we have about one month. Having only a third of the usual practice time requires a lot of individual practice from each player in addition [to] a few extra rehearsals outside of our normal classes. The students have been working hard and understand the importance of each minute in class,” Hensel said.

Hensel continued on to mention the arrangement of songs the band will be performing.

“We are performing three pieces that each tell a unique story musically. Starting with an arrangement of ‘Dance of the Jesters’ by Tchaikovsky, you will hear energetic flourishes and melodies inspired by Russian folk music. Followed by a medley of songs taken from the hit movie ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’” Hensel said.

Belt spoke her opinion on the concert in addition to the amount of work it takes students and teachers to put on this show.

“This is the one and only concert in the year that all three groups, Band, Choir and Orchestra, are able to perform together. It really is a magical event. It takes a tremendous amount of work by all of our music students as well as our fine arts teachers,” Belt said.