Vocalists to perform new, traditional Christmas music

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What: Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School Holiday Concert

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane

Cost: Free

— Singing in front of an audience is hard enough.

To perform Christmas songs - melodies that most people know - is even harder, said accompanist Julia Foster.

"People will know if it's not right," she said.

For nearly two months, Foster - a paraprofessional at Craig Middle School - and other school staff have led practices with almost 90 CMS and Moffat County High School choir students.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday at the high school, practice will culminate in the annual holiday choir concert.

The event brings unique challenges to teachers and students, yet hard work pays off in the end, school staff members say.

The concert will feature vocalists from seventh to 12th grades. Some students are scheduled to perform solos while upper-division high school choirs will perform in quartets.

The group has been practicing for the event since October, MCHS director of choral activities Sean Teets said.

Students will perform both new and traditional pieces, including "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "In the Bleak Midwinter." The high school choir plans to tackle "The Hallelujah Chorus," providing a taste of its Dec. 20 performance of Handel's Messiah.

A medley of familiar Christmas carols will create the grand finale. The high school brass ensemble, composed of 11 students, will accompany the final act.

The vocalists have never performed with a brass band before, MCHS band director John Bolton said.

Still, he's not worried about their ability to perform together Tuesday.

"The kids seem flexible," he said. "They're willing to do (new) things."

Students and instructors have met other challenges while preparing for the concert, including learning unfamiliar songs - sometimes a difficult task, Foster said.

As is perfecting tone, blending, rhythm and balancing, Teets added.

Still, the students have made practice enjoyable for their instructors.

"I love working with these kids," Foster said. "They bring a fresh perspective to music."

"The kids are really great," Teets said. "They respond well."

During the final days of practice, he has reminded students to "finish strong," he added.

The event is free to the public and Teets hopes community members will take enjoy the product of his students' efforts.

The vocalists "have worked hard for this," he said. "I think the kids are excited to show what they're working on."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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