It’s beginning to look – and sound – a lot like Christmas at Christ-King Catholic School these days as the holidays approach.
Currently, students are gearing up for the annual Christmas Advent Concert which is slated to run Dec. 18th at 1 p.m. and also at 6:30 p.m.
“We do one of the biggest productions in the area in terms of Christmas concerts with a full play, music, etc. Every one of our 142 students is involved in some way and typically between the two shows we have approximately 300 people attend,” said Tara McMillan, the school’s principal. “It’s been running for a number of years, and it’s progressively gotten bigger every year,” she explained. “We find a play online, and the students vote on what one they would like to do.”
Following play selection, auditions are held and parts are assigned.
“We typically have anywhere from six up to 12 or 13 actors on stage,” she said. “Throughout the play, there are certain points where, to convey a message or some Christmas spirit, a song starts. So at that point, whatever song is assigned to a particular class, that class will file onstage and they will sing their song. They interact with the actors and then they file off.
“So throughout the play, all 142 of our students are up there participating. It’s fantastic! We have a lot of fun with it. There’s a narrative, and the songs are incorporated into it.”
The title of this year’s production, which is directed Jaclyn Armstrong, is Jingle Bell Beach.
Each classroom teacher is given a song to prepare with their students, and Megan Lozeau covers sound and lighting.
The evening performance is also followed by a social in the school’s gym complete with treats, juice, coffee and cookies. It’s a time to catch up with family, friends and community members who have attended the performance.
“Obviously, as a Catholic School, it’s about the real reason for the season – putting Christ in Christmas,” she explained. “In addition to that, it makes up a huge part of our arts program here at the school.
“It gives all of our students who have that dramatic flair and a passion for the arts a chance to shine and to share their talents with the community as well,” she said.
“Even on the night of the production, kids who don’t necessarily want to be onstage or in the spotlight can have a part in it by perhaps moving sets around when the lights go out, for example. Another student may notify classes when it’s their turn to ‘come on down’. So there are a lot of leadership opportunities for our students as well,” she added.
“We also don’t charge for tickets – just come and watch and celebrate our students with us! We really hope that the (concert) prepares their hearts for Christmas,” she said of what she hopes the impact of the production ultimately will be.
“It’s the whole idea that family is important and the love is important. And there’s that sense of community, too. We want to bring people together and really celebrate our future, too – that’s what our kids are.”
Students are also prepping for some Christmas caroling in local seniors’ facilities, set for Dec. 20th.
“Our entire school splits into three groups and we travel to local senior lodges to sing carols with the residences in order to bring Christmas cheer,” said McMillan.
Students will be visiting Points West, the hospital and Paragon Place.
“We will sing a collection of carols and then we all load back on the buses and meet at Heartland Haven. So our entire school will be there to sing carols, too . They also always have treats and juice for our kids and then we come back to school to finish off the day and begin our Christmas break. It’s a tradition for us. The kids just love it – it’s a sense of giving back.
”Again, it’s also that sense of community – we are very big on that here at the school.”
For more information about the Christmas Advent Concert, call the school office at 403-742-0280.