Family Holiday Fundraiser Concert Returns

Vedanti Bhargava

On Dec. 10, the Lexington High School Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra performed together at the annual Family Holiday Fundraiser Concert. 

Started by the late orchestra director Janet Haas, the concert has become an annual tradition in the music department before the December holiday break. This year’s performing ensemble is larger than usual.

“This is the first time we’re incorporating every single member of the Wind Ensemble, along with the Chamber Orchestra, all together. That gives us quite a robust ensemble,” Rachel Jayson, an LHS orchestra director and the lead organizer of the concert, said. 

The concert saw changes in 2020 due to the pause on live performances, so for many of the performers, the Holiday Concert was a new experience. 

“Normally, at least one class of Chamber Orchestra or half of Chamber Orchestra would have experienced this concert already…We haven’t had that experience, so we’re all trying our hardest to pull it together,” Caitlin Lian, a senior and cellist in the Chamber Orchestra, said. 

The concert’s repertoire reflected the holiday season with ensembles performing a variety of holiday-themed songs.

“We’ll do a mix of pop-based Christmas songs as well as slightly more traditional songs. We’ll be performing a few movements from the Nutcracker Suite…and other holiday favorites, things like White Christmas…standard favorites such as Sleigh Ride. We also included some movie music from the Polar Express,” Jayson said. 

There were some concerns over if each ensemble would have enough time to learn their repertoire. Nonetheless, the students and ensemble directors worked diligently to ensure an enjoyable performance. 

“We had our first big rehearsal today–a week out from the concert, and there was just so much joy in the room and so much music-making happening,” Jayson said. 

Given the interactive nature of the concert, there was a lot of anticipation among students preparing for the concert.

“I’m most excited about all the families that are showing up, especially since we haven’t gotten to do this concert in a couple years and it’s really for the kids because they get to dance around. For one of the pieces we actually ask the kids to dance in the aisles and stuff, so it’s just a really fun environment that I’ve been looking forward to,” Lian said. 

Jayson also highlighted efforts to make the Holiday Concert more accessible to families.

“The idea is that we want people to come in and engage. The concert happens at 4:00 in the afternoon with the hopes that that is a more inclusive time for families… The program for the holiday concert is formatted like a coloring book…There’s a Rudolph sing along that happens. We have a non-musician come up, usually, a special guest come up and conduct one of the pieces. So, it’s really a time to remember that it’s exciting to make music together,” Jayson said. 

The live concert scene at LHS will be more active as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The Family Holiday Concert aims to encourage a return to live performances. 

“I think over COVID, one of the most painful things was not being able to make art together. So the ability to make art for the community and for young people and for people who maybe typically don’t think a high school concert is the place to go, we really wanted to make this a space for them,” Jayson said.