El Centro — Junior high school singers and musicians performed Christmas music that reverberated throughout Wilson Gym and yielded a joyous response from parents and school officials alike Thursday evening at Wilson Junior High School in El Centro.
The opening choral rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look/Pine Cones,” led by Choir Director Kjersti Williams, set the stage for a sequence of performances by the choir, orchestra and band musicians for the evenings’ Wilson Junior High Christmas Carols.
Choir member Salome Jackson, 12, enjoyed her choir’s performance. “It’s kind of embarrassing because you get to sing different songs and to talk to different people. And it’s really fun.”
The choir’s rendition was followed by the school’s orchestra who performed ’Christmas Eve/Sarajevo’ directed by Orchestra Director Marissa Gohl. The combination of traditional orchestral instruments and its electric counterpart put a modern spin on the traditional music.
Director Gohl said, “We played an arrangement of the Trans-Siberian orchestra piece called ‘Christmas Eve/Sarajevo.’ They are a kind of rock-classical group. And they really do a good job mixing the classical with the rock n’ roll.”
“We played their arrangement and we added electric guitar, we had a drum set, electric violin and electric cello. And it really just enhanced the experience and it turned out fantastically.”
Violin player Hannah Bird, 13, concurred. She said it was her favorite musical piece because “It’s like new, not boring and old. Its fresh.”
The orchestra was followed, this time, by the school’s band. Band Director Jacqueline Mulane gave the cue to perform ‘Silent Night.”
The response from the audience was loud, yet encouraging. Predictably, as if not to miss every single note, parents seated on the risers, pulled out their cell phones and tablets and pointed them towards their children who blended with the other musicians on the gymnasium floor.
Featured guest choir singers were students from Imperial High School led by Advanced Choir Director George Scott. Together with the Wilson Junior High choir, they sang ‘Gloria” accompanied by the orchestra.
Ana Romero, mother of Salome Jackson, commented of the school’s evening musical program, “It’s wonderful. It’s a beautiful experience and I never thought that I would have a daughter that would enjoy it. And I love it.”
Orchestra Director Gohl said, “Support your local school music programs. Every student need a chance to try music and have it enrich their lives.”