It has been a flurry of 15 Christmas concerts that the Stettler Elementary School’s (SES) staff and students put together this year, with the last being held on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Performing Arts Centre (PAC).
Dressed as elves and some in Santa hats, the students of SES charmed the audience at PAC that had filled every available seat in the hall.
“Our music specialists are an integral part of the Christmas concerts at the school, and they do a phenomenal job with our students, however it truly is a team effort,” Principal Sharon Fischer said. “Our entire staff work together to ensure the success of these concerts, which are such an important part of the culture in our school and it allows our parents to experience a part of what we do here too.”
Fischer said that events such as these help students to practice their public speaking and performing skills.
“This is not entirely natural for all students, but through Christmas concerts and music festival our students have the opportunity to grow as performers,” Fischer added.
Having worked for 25 years at the SES, preparing the kids for these concerts is Patti Sawula.
“These concerts have always been an important part of our school, the teachers and students work extremely hard preparing for this gift to their parents,” said Sawula. “It has become an important part of our culture and to recognize the importance of Christmas. The students take great pride in performing in the concerts and always leave with a big smile on their faces for a job well done.”
SES librarian Becky Baltimore couldn’t have agreed more.
“As someone who has been part of the Heartland Art Troupe Society (HATS), as well as 4-H (particularly public speaking) for many years, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to encourage and nurture confidence in performing in front of an audience from a very young age,” said Baltimore. “School Christmas concerts provide this opportunity in a fun, relaxed setting where students get to experience the thrill of entertaining their parents, grandparents, teachers and friends, and what better way to truly feel that the Christmas season has begun.”
Annette Hunter has been a part of the SES for 30 years.
“Over these years the Christmas concerts at our school have become a very important part of our school culture, I’m very lucky to work with extremely talented teachers who always bring the best out in the students,” said Hunter. “Not only are these concerts a platform for children to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and spread their wings creatively, it is also an opportunity for them to showcase their talents in front of their peers, grandparents, and parents.”
Hunter said that one of her favourite parts of the concerts are the big smiles on the faces of everyone as they celebrate the season together as one big community.
Music teacher Tricia Kirby weighed in and said, “Every concert has a different theme but the same message runs throughout – peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”
According to Kirby, the story chosen for the concert each year usually highlights what the students have been working on in music class during the fall.