Performances by Chatham Student Musicians Spread Holiday Cheer

Bari Saxophonist Sean O'Donnell Credits: CHS
CHS Select Voices perform for Lafayette School Credits: CHS
Director Suzanne Bass leads the 7-8 CMS orchestra Credits: CMS
Joe Bassin leads the 7th grade band during December concert Credits: CMS
Lafayette Principal Cheryl Russo makes introduction at December contest Credits: LAG
Members of the CHS Select Choir Credits: CHS
CHS Chamber Orchestra opens CMS concert Credits: CHS
The CHS combined choirs perform at December concert Credits: CHS
The CHS Jazz Band performs at Chatham Middle School Credits: CHS
The CHS Select Choir Credits: CHS
The CMS 6th Grade Choir Credits: CMS
Tracy Roskam leads Southern Boulevard School third graders Credits: SBS
Veronica Shaw leads the third graders at Washington Avenue School Credits: WAS

CHATHAM, NJ - The School District of the Chathams recently concluded its annual Holiday concert series, with more than 20 outstanding performances at all grade levels during the month of December.

Milton, Southern, and Washington avenue school music teachers Tracy Roskam and Veronica Shaw’s first, second, and third grade chorus and chimes ensembles warmed the hearts of capacity crowds with their performances. Local musicians Grace Foca, Christina Hansen, Mary Lonergan, Naomi Takagi and Michelle Uhler volunteered their time and talents to accompany the singers.

Third graders who are enrolled in the district PTO enrichment program for string orchestra also gave their debut performances at Washington Avenue School. The third grade singers delighted the community with a spirited performance on Dec. 5 for the annual Christmas Tree lighting at the Chatham Public Library. 

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At Lafayette School, grades four and five presented four performances showcasing their bands, choruses, and orchestras under the direction of Laurie DeBiasse, Dean Kravitz, and Krystle Graser. Both concerts attracted capacity crowds in the CHS auditorium.

The stage was enhanced by the artwork of Lafayette Art teacher Janet Kraemer, whose flying elves, giant stockings, and sparkling candy canes were a hit with audiences. Each of the programs ended with the traditional Lafayette “finale” featuring all of the student musicians taking the stage for a rocking holiday performance, complete with Santa hats for all and some slick choreography under the direction of Dean Kravitz.

Community volunteer Grace Foca and Southern Boulevard School Music teacher Tracy Roskam accompanied the 200-voice choirs, and local resident Brian Johnson offered his expertise at the drum set for the evening.

Chatham Middle School’s three-evening holiday concert series featured outstanding performances by the CMS bands, choruses, and orchestras under the direction of Suzanne Bass, Joe Bassin and Christie Spriggs. Spriggs debuted a new performing group at CMS, the Glee Club, which performed popular choral selections to choreographed movement and “wowed” the crowd with the closing numbers to the Dec.10 program. 

Interim High School Choral Director Deborah Mello presented the annual CHS Holiday Choral concert early in December, with a variety of holiday classics interspersed with intriguing repertoire that delighted the audience.

The CHS Select Choir also hosted, performed, and earned high marks at the annual Region I Choral Festival at CHS on Dec. 1, and traveled to the nearby Morris Museum for a stirring daytime performance for the museum patrons on Dec. 8 for a co-performance with Chatham Voices. On Dec. 21, Select Choir made a visit to the Early Childhood Education class to perform holiday songs for the Kinder Cubs.

To complete the December performance season, the CHS acapella choirs (Select Choir and Chatham Voices), Jazz Band, and Chamber Orchestra gave their traditional eagerly-awaited holiday programs for CMS and Lafayette audiences on the morning of Dec. 23 under the batons of Brian Conti, Krystle Graser and Deborah Mello.

Following the CHS performances, CMS directors Christie Spriggs and Suzanne Bass led the CMS Glee Club, Jazz Band, and Pops Orchestra for a mini-concert for the sixth grade, showcasing some of their favorite selections from recent performances.

Coming up in early 2016, the CHS Orchestras and Bands will perform their annual winter concerts, January 11 and 13, 7:30 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.

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