JHS Christmas Concert set to bring down the house

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Johnston High School Music Department’s annual Christmas Concert as there is about next week’s unique program.

For starters, there’s a record number of undergrads who make up the JHS Band, Chorus and Select Choir who have all learned their lessons exceptionally well from talented teachers like Director Ronald Lamoureux, Oliver Reed and Matthew Gingras.

“The band is playing with a very nice tone,” Lamoureux said while offering a preview of the Dec. 7 Christmas Concert. “They continue to grow as an ensemble every year.”

And that is a testimony of why those groups all came in for top honors during a trip to the United States Music Festival on Busch Gardens in Virginia back in April.

Yet another reason there has been so much interest in next Thursday’s Christmas Concert is that the JHS Chorus and Select Choir will welcome the North Providence High School Concert Choir that will also be on stage for what Gingras this week called “a moving choral Masterwork.”

It’s called “Homeward Bound” that Gingras said is “a touching piece that gradually builds in intensity. Having a large number of voices will only add to the dynamic expression. I can’t want to perform this piece.”

To which Lamoureux, who has taken the entire JHS Music Department to new heights during his tenure as chairman, added: “If the chorus and select choir director is excited about the concert, just imagine how our students are approaching their night in the spotlight.”

The highlight of next Thursday evening’s Choral portion of the concert will be “Homeward Bound” by Marta Keen that was originally arranged by Jay Althouse. It will also feature the combined voices of singers from JHS and NPHS, a program the two groups began last December.

Meanwhile, Gingras said his group will also perform “Glow” by Eric Whiteacre and “Veni Sanete Spritius” by Mozart and noted, “The Choir this year has a warm and balanced tone; through this they are able to create some magical moments.”

The JHS Band, which will again be directed by Lamoureux, will play “Star of Wonder” by James Swearingen, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” arranged by John Tatgenhorst and J.S. Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” arranged by James Ployhar.

No Christmas concert, as Lamoureux concurred, would be complete without the perennial favorite “A Christmas Festival” that was made famous by Leroy Anderson and a popular piece that’s also on next Thursday night’s schedule.

“The Anderson piece poses challenges to every section of the band,” Lamoureux said. “The brass parts call for great endurance and sensitivity and the woodwins have very technical passages that require a great deal of skill and maturity.”

Next Thursday’s Christmas Concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the JHS Auditorium. Lamoureux announced that the doors will open at 6 o’clock to accommodate the large crowd that’s expected to take in the event that includes 16 of the best high school musicians and singers in Rhode Island.

Admission is only $5 per person and proceeds will be used for future JHS Music Department programs.

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