ELMSFORD, N.Y. The podium, piano and staircases were draped with shimmery, rainbow lights, but they did not distract from the talent on stage as Alice E. Grady Elementary School performed their winter concert.
In the neighboring Alexander Hamilton High School's auditorium, Grady's chorus and band charmed their classmates and teachers Thursday afternoon. They performed a range of holiday music from traditional favorites and jazz to softer pieces and multi-cultural tunes.
"The kids enjoy the concert," said Timothy Brown, the vocal music teacher at Grady. "It's one of the highlights of the holidays."
The children began practicing early in the semester in order to perfect the songs, said Elsa Kortright-Torres, principal at Grady and Carl L. Dixson Primary School.
"The kids are excited and we are all excited for them," she said.
"One song that we do every year, and it's become a tradition here, is 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,'" said Brown. "Can't do without it. The kids would kill me."
This year, Brown incorporated songs that pay tribute to different cultures, making sure to add a Spanish song as several of their students come from Hispanic backgrounds. Between each song played by the band, a student stepped up to the microphone and gave background information on the upcoming song, educating their fellow classmates about the history of holiday music in other countries.
"We have an amazing band," said Kortright-Torres. "Every time that we hear them, they're not just making noise, they're actually playing songs. It's beautiful to watch."
Grady's skillful music continued on into the evening as both the band and chorus took part in the Elmsford Union-Free School District's Holiday Concert, which partnered with Hamilton High. Families were invited to sing or hum along to songs like "Piñata," "Blitzen's Boogie," "Shine a Little Light," "Feliz Navidad" and "Nutcracker Swing."
"I am very excited," said Kortright-Torres. "The children have been preparing for the concert for a long time now."
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