Local elementary musicians to be featured at holiday concert

“I always look forward to this special holiday concert day at Prairie Elementary when we can share our music with the whole student body and interested members of the community in three performances,” said Melanie Loy, District 518’s senior orchestra instructor.

“My fourth-grade orchestra students are excited and nervous to play their very first concert of the year.”

Besides Loy’s 89 young string protégés, the13 fourth- and fifth-grade singers who are members of Celebration Chorus are set to sing.

“They rehearse each Tuesday after school,” said director Debra Moe. Moe teaches kindergarten through fourth-grade music at Prairie Elementary along with colleagues Linda VanWesten and Taylor Huwe.

“The singers are eager to share selections that explore the five senses of this holiday season,” Moe added.

Since September, Loy has been hard at work teaching her orchestra students the basics of violin, viola or cello playing.

“They’ve been practicing their very best posture to hold their instruments,” said Loy, “and they’re learning to pluck the strings ‘pizzicato’ style.

“Recently they added their bow to play the strings ‘arco,’ too, and they’ll perform four songs in each performance on Wednesday: ‘Rolling Along,’ ‘Good King Wenceslas,’ ‘Lightly Row’ and ‘Dreidel,’” Loy listed.

Loy, a violinist in the Great Plains String Quartet in addition to being a District 518 music teacher, said she and her fellow ensemble members (who assist her with tuning her students’ instruments) will play a holiday favorite at Wednesday’s concerts.

“We’re looking forward to accompanying Celebration Chorus on a piece called ‘All is Well’ by Michael W. Smith that includes the familiar carol ‘Silent Night,’” said Loy.

Besides singing next Wednesday, Moe’s Celebration Chorus is slated to sing at 1 p.m. today at Phileo’s as part of the Worthington Wonderland festivities — and next Friday, they will travel to First State Bank Southwest’s Christmas open house to share their songs before entertaining residents of Golden Horizons and The Meadows.

“And the Prairie Elementary kindergarten class of 2032 is busy preparing their Christmas program, which is a retelling of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’” Moe related.

Added Huwe, “Each child has a part in telling the story, either with an instrument, as a snowflake or as another seasonal character.

“They’re definitely eager to have their parents come see the program.”

Huwe, along with Moe and VanWesten, will lead students from all 12 Prairie kindergarten classes in six performances of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” (two classes are combined for each show).

“They’re very excited for their first performances ever as music students in District 518,” said Moe.

Parents, grandparents and community members are welcome to attend the holiday concerts on Wednesday at 8:45 a.m., 10:15 a.m. or 1:45 p.m. at Prairie Elementary, 1700 First Ave. SW, Worthington. The Prairie kindergarten classes present “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 17 and 18, at 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. each day. Contact Prairie Elementary at 727-1250 for more information.