Warm music for a cold winter

FAHS band and chorus perform at Christmas concert


The FAHS choir joins the band in the concert’s finale, performing “He Shall Reign Forevermore.”

Sam Covalt, Asst. Editorial Editor

As autumn passes, the leaves fall to the ground and the cold sets in, everyone needs a little something to warm the months to come. We’ll gather around the fireplace, huddling together around the glowing flames; we’ll put up the lights of the season, all of the different colors to brighten our homes. We’ll spend those days in the company of family and friends, getting together and enjoying the closeness, and we’ll listen to the music of the Christmas season.

For about the past two months, both the band and the chorus have been preparing for the Christmas concert. On Dec. 17, they performed for families and friends that gathered there in the high school auditorium, filling the room with Christmas music.

“It’s going to be a nice night for a family to enjoy their kid performing. It’s going to be uplifting and it’ll be fun. The chorus will be doing a few of their own numbers on their own outside of the band, but they will also be doing a finale piece with the band. The choir is also doing a couple pieces that aren’t so traditional,” said director Keith Kovalic before the concert.

The concert saw the band and chorus playing separate at first, but at the end, the two music groups joined together.

The band played “C’est Noel,” “The Special Sounds of Christmas” and “A Carol Festival,” as well as “Sounds of the Season,” which junior Cade Skuse soloed in. In addition to the concert band, the jazz band also played. The jazz band featured senior Carly Kusich, sophomore Kameron Skrobacz and Skuse playing three separate solos during “Christmas Time is Here.” The jazz band also played “Nutcracker Rock” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

I think my favorite song to learn is a tie between ‘C’est Noel’ and ‘Special Sounds of Christmas.’ Both pieces of music are extremely different in the way that they are arranged. But ‘C’est Noel’ is a rather melodic song and has a lot of sweet, soft lines and solos that I love to play,” sophomore Marissa Lammie said.

Prior to the start of the concert, the brass choir (of which consisted of senior Nick Wolfe on Tuba, senior Abigail McAfee-Evans on French Horn, senior Mikayla Evans on Euphonium, sophomores Jessa Kester and Keith Pawlowski on Trumpet and sophomore Kameron Skrobacz on Trombone) played songs in the school lobby as concertgoers entered the school. During the concert, the brass choir played many Christmas-time classics: “Joy to the World,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Deck the Halls,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “O Christmas Tree” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“Over the years, [directing the band and choir] has brought out a lot more emotion and more passion in the music. It’s trying to stress into the kids why this arrangement or why this composer wrote what they wrote,” Kovalic said.

The chorus members sang “Christmas Melody,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Where Are You Christmas,” and “That Time of Year.” For “Christmas Melody,” homeschooled freshman Grace Demas had a solo; sophomore Alexis Surenda soloed in “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas;” in “Where Are You Christmas,” junior Alyson Horner and freshman Emily Frashure had solos; for “That Time of Year,” senior Joseph Smith, junior Evan Ruffing and sophomores Brianna Kroskey and Mercedes Lavrusky soloed. Dialogue soloists in “That Time of Year” were junior Camryn Hampe, sophomore Francis Tavern and freshmen Jacob Smith and Madison Rhoades.

As a finale, the band and choir conjoined and played “He Shall Reign Forevermore,” a non-secular, relatively new piece. Produced by Chris Tomlin in 2015, it is becoming a popular religious song.

With the winter concert over, the band and chorus will soon start preparing for their upcoming concert in the spring.