It was with great joy that I, along with about 400 other music lovers, was able to attend An Albion Family Christmas Concert - part of the Albion Courthouse Square concert series, benefiting the Albion High School Alumni Foundation general scholarship fund. The concert was held at the Albion First Presbyterian Church at 3:00 pm on Sunday, December 6th.
To say it was a joy to attend is an understatement! This was, by far, the best Christmas concert I have ever attended! First - it was an afternoon of wonderful holiday songs performed exclusively by Albion HS Alumni and current AHS students - the talent that was packed into roughly an hour and a half was tremendous! But, that wasn't the only reason it was enjoyable - the format, flow, and content made for an enjoyable concert. The performers alternated their time so that no one person sang more than one song at a time.....and they all transitioned seamlessly! And, finally, it was a nice mix of traditional, religious, and more modern holiday music and even a few sing-a-longs that the audience was able to get in on the action on! The time flew by......and there were a few times when, I for one, shed more than a couple tears from the emotions certain songs conjured up!
Bravo to the performers and the organizers.....it was an amazing afternoon!
NOTE: (from the printed program) "The AHS Instrumental and vocal ensembles performing today are part of a unique chamber music program at Albion High School. Mr. Michael J. Thaine is the Director of Instrumental Music and Mr. Gary J. Simboli is the Director of Vocal Music. For the past nine consecutive years, the Albion Central School district's Music Department has been recognized by the NAMM Foundation as one of the 'Best Communities for Music Education in the Nation'."
Here are some photos:
The Presbyterian Church was beautifully adorned with Christmas decorations, including two exquisitely decorated trees.
AHS Alumni Foundation Board Member, Charlie Nesbitt, AHS Class of 1965, opened the concert with introductions and thank yous
The AHS Woodwind Quintet played "Ding Dong Merrily on High"
Joe Sacco, AHS Class of 1955, sang "Birthday of a King", accompanied by Harriette Greaser on the organ
The Flock of Uncles - consisting of brothers Calvin (Class of 2008), Lucas (Class of 2012), and Oliver (Class of 2006) Smith - sang "The First Noel"
The AHS Double Reed Ensemble played "Away in a Manger"
Alec Sherman, AHS Class of 1968, accompanied by Dale Smalley on piano, sang the emotional "How Great Thou Art"
The AHS Flute Choir played "Carol of the Bells"
The Flock of Uncles returned for "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings"
Joe Sacco returned to sing "The Lord's Prayer"
The AHS Brass ensemble played "I Saw three Ships" - ensemble includes Director of Instrumental Music, Mike Thaine, AHS Class of 1986 (second from the right)
Gary Simboli (Class of 1981) and Marcy Downey (Class of 1970) sang "More Than Wonderful"
The AHS Clarinet Choir played "Winter" from The Four Seasons
Joe Sacco returned to offer a holiday favorite - "O, Holy Night"
Here, Gary Simboli leads the audience in the first of our sing-a-longs - "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Marcy Downey and The Flock of Uncles stand in the background
Two other sing-a-longs were mixed in the second half of the program - "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "Deck The Halls"
The AHS Women's Select Choir sang "My Wish for You This Christmas"
The AHS Men's Select Choir sand "Thankful"
The AHS Saxophone Ensemble played "Let It Snow, Let It Snow"
Marcy Downey added some humor with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
She, later, returned to also sing "Christmas Song"
The Flock of Uncles rocked out with The Beach Boys' "Little St. Nick"
Alec Sherman delighted with "It's a Marshmallow World"
The Flock of Uncles had some fun with "My Favorite Things" - adding lyrics to declare a few of THEIR favorite things, including "The Buffalo Bills with a Superbowl ring" and an entire verse about "naps" (one of MY favorite things, too)
They also sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
The AHS Combined Select Choirs sang beautiful renditions of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Sleigh Ride"
And.....in the finale, the AHS Combined Select Choirs lead the audience in our final sing-a-long - "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
One of the ornaments on one of the trees - perfectly defines the day!!!
The Albion High School Alumni Foundation would like to thank each and every one of the people who attended today's concert! We hope you enjoyed it! We also thank our principle sponsor, Christopher-Mitchell Funeral Homes, Inc. and our other generous sponsors, Charlie and Kim Nesbitt, Chris and Pat Haines, Steve Hawley, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Batchellor, and Gary Mannella. And, to all the performers - "thank you" just isn't enough to express our gratitude for graciously sharing your talent and love for music with us this holiday season!