The Chester High School Christmas Concert was played to a packed house at CHS Colbert Gymnasium on Dec. 10, conducted by music director Steve Colonel. The concert, "The Sounds of the Season: An Annual Holiday Concert," was met with great enthusiasm.
The evening began with the CHS Concert Choir, which performed four selections: "It's So Still in Bethlehem" and "Noel Peace Canon," both by Ruth Elaine Schram; "Mary, Did You Know", arranged by Tom Fettke; and "Winter Wonderland", arranged by Roger Emerson. The Concert Choir was accompanied by Vicky Beers on piano.
Between the Concert Choir and Concert Band performances, several senior band and choral members presented Colonel with the traditional round of Christmas gifts. All the music students contribute, as a demonstration of their appreciation for his guidance and dedication to the CHS Music Department.
This year the students gave him a large air-blown snowman to add to his already huge Christmas yard decoration collection; a wireless Bluetooth speaker to use on the football field during band camp; a wooden nutcracker tree ornament; and a Grumpy Cat calendar.
The CHS Concert Band then took center stage and performed three very difficult and entertaining songs: "A Solitary Wish," by Brian Balmages; "A Glorious Christmas," by Larry Neeck; and the holiday favorite "Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson.
"These songs were very challenging for the students, but they did a fine job of performing them," Colonel said. "When they are challenged they always seem to step up to the occasion. I was very proud of their performance and according to the audience reactions, the performances were well-received."
Following the Concert Band segment, CHS music students held their annual offering to benefit the community. This year, the $733.48 collected was dedicated to the Chester Area Christian Food Pantry.
The concert concluded with the ever-popular CHS swing choir, "Sound Affect," which sang and danced to four selections: "Let's Have a Christmas Celebration," arranged by David T. Clydesdale; "Christmas Time is Here," arranged by Steve Zegree; "The Man with the Bag," arranged by Roger Emerson; and "Underneath the Tree," arranged by Ed Lojeski.
To close the show, Mr. Colonel thanked everyone for attending the 2018 Christmas Concert. He also thanked everyone for supporting the Chester Area Christian Food Pantry with their generous donations.
Colonel also thanked everyone for their continued support of the CHS Music Programs and noted that this spring the Concert Band, Sound Affect, Concert Choir, and Jazz Band as well as the various soloists in band and vocal areas, would be chasing another trophy in the IHSA State Music Sweepstakes Competition.
Last year CHS was the State Champion in Class C. This year CHS has moved up a division to Class B which will be more challenging, but Colonel and company have every intention of striving for yet another trophy, even though they are up against bigger schools and well-established programs.
• Upcoming Music Department events include: the 2019 IHSA Solo & Ensemble Contest on March 2; the IHSA Organizational Contest on April 12; and the CHS Spring Concert and Awards Night, on May 7.