Students showcase their talents at Manitoulin Secondary Christmas concert

Chris Theijsmeijer directs the Manitoulin Secondary School band at the annual Christmas concert.

M’CHIGEENG – Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) principal Jamie Mohamed welcomed audience members to the school’s annual Christmas concert on December 5, saying that it was a wonderful opportunity to gather and to enjoy and share in the music of the season.

MSS musical director Chris Theijsmeijer then told the audience how happy the school was to have the audience in attendance and also thanked the musicians of C.C. McLean Public School in Gore Bay and Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) for taking part in this concert.

After the playing of ‘O Canada,’ the musical event got underway with the MSS senior band singing ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and ‘Troika.’ The troika is a Russian three horse sled and the music was written by composer Sergei Prokofiev for a film titled ‘Lieutenant Kije.’

The song ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ was written by Joe Beal and Jim Boothe and was released in the 1950s.

Next, it was time for the students of C.C. McLean Public School to sing ‘Frosty Cold in Winta’ under the direction of Ray Scott and the musicians from CMPS to sing ‘Santa Claus is Coming’ with Ann-Marie Scott serving as the director.

The MSS vocal group then performed three arrangements under the direction of Mr. Theijsmeijer including ‘What Do I Know,’ a song by Ed Sheeran, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘March of the Christmas Children.’ ‘Silent Night,’ originally ‘Stille Nacht,’ was written by Father Joseph Mohr with Franz Xaver Gruber the composer. It was first performed on Christmas Eve at St. Nicholas parish church in Austria in 1818. Bing Crosby released his version of this beloved song in 1935 and it stands as the fourth best seller of all time. The MSS version of ‘Silent Night’ was with an arrangement by Jay Althouse and ‘March of the Christmas Children’ by composer/arranger Gerald Sebesky.

The MSS Grade 9 band performed next with the song ‘Nighthawk’ by American composer, arranger and conductor James Sweaqringen and that very famous Christmas tune ‘Jingle Bells.’ That renowned song was written by James Pierpont and was originally titled ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ when it was published in 1857. The MSS music for this song was by arranger Michael Sweeney.

The senior music class performed three songs, beginning with ‘Eagle Song’ by Bob Baker, a Squamish Nation cultural advisor and performer. This song was given to Robert Buckley for arrangement. The next song was ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ which was written by lyricists Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson. This famous song has been recorded by many artists including Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald and the Beach Boys. The arrangement used at the MSS concert was by John Edmondson. The senior band then sang ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ which was written by songwriter Johnny Marks with arranger Michael Sweeney’s music used.

The final song saw the MSS combined bands and choirs singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and again, the arrangement used was by Michael Sweeney.

Mr. Theijsmeijer then thanked the volunteers who had helped with putting the concert together, as well as the students and their parents who support the MSS music programs. He also acknowledged the support of the Joan Mantle music trust and of Manitoulin Transport. The trust has been in operation for 12 years and provides musical instruments to various schools. Ms. Mantle was an educator and a past chair of the Rainbow District School Board. (RDSB). She taught music at Lo-Ellen and Lasalle secondary schools and was a board member of many Sudbury arts associations.