The Chester High School Music Department put on its annual concert on December 11, as "The Sounds of the Season" filled Colbert Gymnasium.
Steve Colonel, CHS music director, organized and directed the 90-minute event, which featured four of the special music units at CHS - Jazz Band, Concert Choir, Concert Band and Swing Choir "Sound Affect" - with Vicky Beers as accompanist.
The Jazz Band performed "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "This Christmas."
Colonel noted that there is no class period for jazz band, so the musicians came to school at 7 a.m. to learn and practice their songs.
The CHS Concert Choir, the largest vocal unit with nearly 50 students, was next to take the stage. The group performed three songs - "Winter is at Hand," "Good King Wenceslas" and "Cartoon Christmas."
Garret Welker, a CHS senior, performed numerous vocal solos throughout the last song and also during the Sound Affect portion of the concert.
The CHS Concert Band played three selections - "A Christmas Festival for Band," "Greensleeves" and "Ukranian Bell Festival."
Each section of the band had the opportunity to feature numerous musicians at various times with several solo performances shining through.
At the conclusion of the Concert Band portion of the show, the band officers presented Colonel with his traditional Christmas gift made possible by all musicians and vocalists "chipping-in" to make the purchase possible.
This year, Colonel received yet another huge yard Christmas blow-up decoration to add to his already mammoth yard display. Along with this gift, he received a basket containing numerous other smaller additions to carry him through the Christmas holidays.
CHS senior Montana Rose also made a very moving tribute to Colonel as she announced that she had been accepted at the University of Evansville next year to pursue a degree in Music Therapy.
Rose read from an essay she had to submit to the UE as part of her application process. The assignment was to describe why she wanted to pursue a degree in Music Therapy.
Rose praised Colonel for guiding and directing her throughout her high school career and for encouraging and leading her in her musical endeavors. At times, Rose got very emotional and had to choke her way through the tribute.
However, it was quite apparent that Colonel had made quite a lasting impression on Rose and she gave him much praise and thankfulness for her success in her musical path.
To close out the concert, the 32-member ensemble Sound Affect took center stage to sing and dance the night away. The Swing Choir performed "Glow," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Miss You Most at Christmas Time" and "North Pole Rock and Roll."
Little Drummer Boy featured Rose with a vocal solo.
Next, Sound Affect sang, "Miss You Most at Christmas Time:, arr. Mark Hayes featuring soloist, senior, Emma Naeger. Rounding out the performance, the Swing Choir performed "North Pole Rock and Roll", arr. Mac Huff. Garret Welker, a CHS senior, sang numerous solo parts throughout this very lively and entertaining number.
In addition to performing the holiday concert, Colonel and company conducted an opportunity for audience members to donate to the Randolph County Human Service Center to help give others a good Christmas experience.
"There is always a tremendous need for toys in this area, and we will use this money to buy new toys for children and families right here in Randolph County," Colonel said.
In total, $608.51 was raised for the Human Service Center. Colonel also thanked the members of the Chester Music Patrons for their continued support to the various music programs at CHS and CGS.
In closing, Colonel announced that next spring, the CHS Music Department would be chasing after a state championship in the State Music Sweepstakes competition. He praised his students for having become one of the best programs in southern Illinois for schools the size of Chester.