Singing about all the holidays

It was one of those days when Philip Cerbone-Smith, 11, wore a tie to school and his mom and dad, Sandra and Lee, brought the video camera along.

"It was wonderful," said Sandra of the sixth-grade choir's "Paint the Town December" performance.

"We're sending this (tape) back to New York and Florida. Philip has a bunch of family wanting to see him," she said.

The concert was the finale of Dayton Intermediate School's sixth-grade choir class.

The choral class is being offered as an elective for the first time this year - to get students into the practice of having more than one teacher, like they will have in upper grades - and runs semester to semester.

Forty-eight students signed up for the first half-year of choir, and many of them, like Philip, say they will return for the second semester. Last week's concert helped Philip, who would like to become a country singer some day, work off their performance jitters.

"I was a little nervous, just having all those eyes staring at me," he said.

Students performed seven songs from a Christmas musical called "Paint the Town December - A Multicultural Holiday Celebration," written by Roger Emerson and John Jacobson.

The songs were "Paint the Town December," "Nes Gadol Haya Sham," "The Light of Kwanzaa," "Rockin' on the Housetop," "Shepherd Boy," "The Colors of Las Posadas" and "Hearts around the World."

"We all celebrate just about something this month," said Philip, explaining the tie-in between songs. "We should just look past differences and be friends."

Classmate Aaron Sitts, 11, agreed.

"Everybody did what they were supposed to do very well, and they made the point of the play, which was getting past all the different celebrations and actually building friendships and being with family."

Aaron also wore a tie.

"The teacher told us to (dress nicely), but I was actually planning to anyway," he said.

The sixth-grade choir was the idea of teacher Pam "Doc" Ciders.

She was thrilled with the Friday afternoon performance.

"I've been a musician all my life, and it's an avocation of mine," she said. "Doing this play is wonderful for the kids. They learn discipline, they learn to appreciate the arts, and it helps them overcome the fear of performing in public."

Courtney Bradley, 11, is realizing she can conquer that fear.

"I've learned it's OK not to be nervous," said the sixth-grade choir student. " Yeah, I was a little nervous."

Students and parents applauded and cheered after each song.

And the choir students entertained the crowd with dances, props and smiles.

"I think it went really well," Cider said. "I think the kids enjoyed it."

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.

What was your favorite song during the holiday

choral performance?

Asked of sixth-graders at Dayton Intermediate School

Crystal Lorenzo: "'Paint the Town December,' because (in the song) they want to paint everything and make it look all bright and colorful."

William Fitch: "The Hanukkah Song ('Nes Gadol Haya Sham'). I'm Jewish. And it makes me feel like I'm not the only one who celebrates Hanukkah."

Rachel Claypool: "Rockin' on the Housetop,' because my friend was in it."

Elise Ingersoll: "I liked my solo the best - 'Kwanzaa, Kwanzaa.'"


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