WITH PATRIOTIC songs joining traditional holiday music, this year's winter concerts at area schools are a little different from those in previous years.
At Crofton Meadows Elementary School, the strings program will begin with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and end with a Christmas carol. The band program will continue the theme, beginning with "Jingle Bells" and closing with "Yankee Doodle."
Crofton Woods Elementary School's third-graders will begin their winter choral concert with "America the Beautiful." Another song in their program, "A Song of Peace," reflects the yearning for peace that fills the holiday season, especially this year.
"That one will make all the parents cry," said Carol Schwalm, who teaches music at Crofton Woods.
At Four Seasons Elementary School, the chorus will perform on a stage crowned with a huge holiday wreath. Decorating the wreath are hundreds of little pieces of red, white, blue and gold paper.
All pupils and staff members wrote on the papers the names of people they wanted to honor, celebrate or remember.
Four Seasons music teacher Judy Engelmeyer wrote the names of her grandchildren.
Patriotic songs are always part of the school's spring concerts. But this year, said Engelmeyer, the winter concert features the Pledge of Allegiance set to music in addition to the traditional holiday music.
Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa all are celebrated the holiday songs. Four Seasons' recorder choir will perform "Conga Bells," having some fun with Kwanzaa. At Crofton Woods, "The Wren Song" will call to mind the Feast of St. Stephen (Dec. 26).
Also, in recognition of the New Year, Crofton Woods pupils will sing "Gong Xi Fa Cai" ("Happy New Year") decked out in Chinese masks. A traditional holiday guest will make a surprise visit.
The winter concerts are free and open to he public.
Crofton Woods Elementary will present a band and strings concert at 7 p.m. Monday; the chorus will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Crofton Meadows Elementary will present a concert at 7 p.m. today. Crofton Elementary's chorus will perform at 7 p.m. today at the school, and a band and strings performance is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Crofton Meadows Elementary.
Four Seasons Elementary School will present a concert at 7 p.m. today. Odenton Elementary School will offer an instrumental concert at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Arundel Middle School will stage a concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Crofton Middle concerts include a choral performance at 7 p.m. Dec. 18, a band concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and an orchestra concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. Arundel High School will present its concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 19, and South River High School groups will perform at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Advent Quiet Day
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will conduct an Advent Quiet Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the church on St. Stephen's Church Road in Crownsville. People are invited to spend the day, or part of the day, in contemplation, prayer and reflection on the meaning of the season.