Arts & Entertainment

Performances by Chatham Student Musicians Spread Holiday Cheer

CHS violinists welcome Lafayette 5th grade concert goers, with a reminder to "gufundme" for the CHS Music department's upcoming trip to Disney Credits: SDOC
Milton Avenue School's 3rd graders perform under Veronica Shaw's direction. Credits: SDOC
The 5th grade performers join together for the finale, their performance of _Santa Claus Boogie_ under the direction of Dean Kravitz Credits: SDOC
The CHS Select Choir performed at the Regional Choral Festival, CHS concert, and CMS holiday assembly Credits: SDOC

CHATHAM, NJ - The School District of the Chathams recently concluded its annual Holiday concert series, with over 20 outstanding performances throughout 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 grade-level performances throughout December.

Local musicians Grace Foca, Mary Lonergan, Naomi Takagi and Brett Isza volunteered their time and talents to accompany the singers. In addition to their school concerts, the combined third grade singers delighted the community with a spirited performance on Dec. 3rd for the annual Christmas Tree lighting at the Chatham Public Library. Singers from Washington Avenue School also visited the ECLC, a learning community for children with special needs, and the Garden Terrace Nursing Home.

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At Lafayette School, grades four and five presented four performances showcasing their grade level Bands, Orchestras, and Choruses under the direction of Laurie DeBiasse, Krystle Graser, and Dean Kravitz, joined by accompanist Ken Bryson. Matinee and evening performances on December 21 st and 22 nd drew capacity crowds. The stage was brightened by the artistic touches of Lafayette Art teacher Janet Kraemer, whose flying elves, giant stockings, and sparkling candy canes were a big hit with students and 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 of Santa Claus Boogie - complete with slick choreography under the direction of Lafayette Music teacher Dean Kravitz. Audiences were musically greeted in the lobby by the CMS and CHS Pops Orchestras, under the direction of Krystle Graser and Suzanne Bass.

On December 1st, 6th  and 13th, Chatham Middle School’s festive three-evening holiday concert series featured exciting performances by the CMS Orchestras, Bands, and Choruses under the direction of Suzanne Bass, Joseph Bassin, and Christie Spriggs.

In addition to the grade level ensembles, specialty groups including the Jazz Band and Glee Club, both under Spriggs’ direction, also performed holiday favorites to enthusiastic audiences. At each of the concerts, concert attendees were greeted by the lobby music of CHS band and choir members. On December 22nd, Suzanne Bass led the CMS Pops Orchestra in a special performance of holiday selections and sing-along favorites at Victoria Gardens Social Adult Day Center.

District Arts Supervisor Barbara Klemp hosted the Region I Choral Festival on December 6th, where the CHS Select Choir and Chatham Voices earned high marks under the direction of Choral Director Ken Bryson from choral faculty adjudicators from Drew and Rutgers Universities. Bryson presented the annual CHS Holiday Choral concert December 8th, with a variety of holiday classics interspersed with intriguing repertoire that delighted the audience. On December 13th, the CHS Concert Choir performed for enthusiastic audiences at the ECLC and Washington Avenue Schools, featuring holiday sing-a- longs that were enjoyed by all.

On December 19th, the Voices Choir made a visit to the CHS Early Childhood Education class to perform and lead holiday songs for the Kinder Cubs.

To complete the busy December performance season, the CHS a cappella choirs, Jazz Band, and Chamber Orchestra presented abbreviated annual holiday programs for CMS and Lafayette audiences on the morning of Dec. 23 rd under the batons of Brian Conti, Krystle Graser and Ken Bryson.

Coming up in early 2017, Lafayette Art teacher Janet Kraemer will present the winter Head Show on January 5th at 7 p.m. in the CHS auditorium, the Chatham Performing Arts Boosters will host their Broadway Under the Stars fundraiser on Jan. 6 th in the CHS cafeteria, and the CHS Orchestras and Bands will perform their annual winter concerts Jan. 9 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the CHS auditorium.

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