Unalaska received several inches of new snow this week adding to the wintery vibe, and all at once it seems the holiday season is upon us. As the end of the winter term draws near for both Eagle's View Elementary School and the Unalaska City School, both students and staff must stay on course to get the remaining assignments “wrapped up” before the holiday break.
Shannon Spring, the new music teacher at the elementary and high school has arguably had a busier week than most, with the USCD Winter Band Concert and the Elementary Holiday Program occurring within two days of each other. Luckily, his students were up to the task.
“The kids put in a lot of hard work for both the band and elementary school concerts,” Spring said. “I was very proud of them.”
On Monday, December 10th, the UCSD Winter Band Concert began at 6pm. The 6th Grade band opened the festive evening with four classic holiday songs, including “Up on the Housetop” and “the Hanukkah Song.”
This was followed by the Junior High Band’s set, which began with a rousing version of “Frosty the Snowman.”
“They had a lot of fun practicing that one,” Spring said of the opening song. “They would come in every day for the last few weeks and just immediately start playing that as fast as they could.” The Junior High Band finished up with three more holiday tunes, including a more obscure song by Frank Halferty entitled, “Silver Lake Sleigh Ride.”
The High School Band rounded out the evening with an eclectic mix of holiday tunes, including the theme from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and also a song inspired by an event that happened during the Bosnian War entitled, “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24.”
Spring said he collaborated with the seniors to decide some of the musical selections this year and let them have a say in what they performed. The High School Band received the biggest reaction from the crowd when they began playing what Spring called, “alternative Christmas music:” a medley from “The Nightmare before Christmas.”
Two short winter days later, Spring led the elementary chorus students for the first time in front of friends, family and many Eagle's View teachers.
"I’ve never seen this room in a 'standing-room-only situation,'" Spring said, after welcoming the audience, "it’s really nice!"
Students from kindergarten to 4th grade came dressed in their holiday finest, and approached the risers to sing a variety of holiday hits including “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Jolly Old St. Nick.”
A fun variation from the classics was a song called “Noche Buena,” performed by 3rd graders. “I challenged them more than the younger students by learning a song in Spanish,” Spring said.
The last block of songs were performed by Unalaska's fourth grade class, and it included a mash-up called, “2 Canadian folksongs.”
“They chose this piece, and I was both surprised and proud of them because it’s a rather difficult piece.” Spring also said he gave the 4th graders the freedom to change words in songs and even create parts of the choreography. “It was fun,” he added.
A selection from both concerts can be found in the link below, and both the band and choir concerts will run in their entirety on Friday, December 14th at 8pm and 10pm, Saturday, December 15th at 8pm and 10pm and Sunday, December 16th at 8pm and 10pm on Channel 8 TV.