AHS holiday music opportunities

Published 5:51 pm Friday, December 2, 2022

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Fall concerts have come and gone and the holiday season is in full swing for student musicians at Austin High School! As the calendar rolls over to December, community members are invited to enjoy performances by ensembles large and small.

The Austinaires, La Fiera Strings, Jazz Band, and Flute Choir can be found at various community locations throughout the season. Additionally, they can all be heard together at the Paramount Theatre’s “Sounds of the Season” event at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. as the student ensembles will perform a holiday show to remember. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased online at austinareaarts.org/paramount-events or at the door.

Both the Austinaires and La Fiera will appear in KSMQ’s “An Austin Christmas” holiday special.

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“Singing on KSMQ goes back longer than I remember,” said AHS Choir Director Kalle Akkerman. “Performing in the studio is one of our early December stops as we bring music into the Austin community.”

“It’s a great way to showcase what our students are doing every day and every week,” added AHS Orchestra Director Gene Schott.

The AHS Flute Choir, led by Erin Grush of the MacPhail Center for Music, is back for their fourth year.

“It is wonderful to have MacPhail sponsor Erin’s time to work with the flute choir,” said AHS Band director Christoph Dundas. “It gives students a unique opportunity to share music with the Austin community.”

Dundas adds that AHS Jazz Bands are working hard as students learn both familiar and new tunes to share with the public, and the AHS Pep Band can also be spotted once a week from Thanksgiving through February at AHS basketball, hockey, and wrestling!

Knowlton Auditorium will also feature younger musicians in December. On Dec. 12, the sixth-eighth grade orchestras will perform at 6 p.m. with the sixth and seventh grade bands following at 7:15 p.m. Then, on Dec. 15, the Ellis and IJ Holton Choirs perform at 7 p.m.

Holiday music performances peak with the AHS Holiday Concert on Monday, Dec. 19, in Knowlton Auditorium. The concert starts at 7 p.m., with Austinaires, Choralaires, La Fiera, Jazz Band, and Flute Choir performing pre-concert entertainment in the AHS Commons starting at 6:15 p.m. “We know people arrive early for this extravaganza, and our extracurricular groups provide some music while people wait for the concert to begin,” explains Akkerman. The Holiday Concert itself will feature Concert Choir, Treble Choir, Mixed Choir, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and a combined finale.

“We took the feedback from parents, students, and community and slimmed the concert down,” Dundas said.

The concert is now under an hour and a half with a taste of choir, band, and orchestra music. Following tradition, the concert will close with the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.”

“It is such a powerful moment when student groups perform together,” Schott said. “There is nothing that compares to Austin’s students performing in Knowlton Auditorium!”