“Share the Joy” lifts spirits with music (20 photos, video)


Bella Bobrow

[embedvideo id=”81339788″ website=”vimeo”]

Ventura Unified School District’s three all-district show choirs put on their 4th annual “Share the Joy” concert at the Ventura High School auditorium last night. The concert doors opened at 6:30 p.m., with the show kicking off just past 7 p.m.

“’Share The Joy’ is a performance bringing joy to people around Christmas time,” Foothill freshman Olivia Cate said. “It’s about making people happy with music, that’s what the holidays are all about.”

The elementary school choir, the Notables, started the show with “There’s Magic in the Air.” They followed with the classic “Carol Of The Bells.” The entire show mixed together new and old songs from many cultures.

The Notables sang six songs in total, finishing up with their traditional “Holiday Paper Wrap.” They danced and sang about the joys of present wrapping, then surprised everyone by tossing wrapping paper “snowballs” at the audience.

Crescendo, the middle school choir, followed them with six more songs about the holiday season. Their performances included “Hot Chocolate” from The Polar Express and “Santa Claus Boogie,” which featured two tap dancers.

Eden Thasiah, a Crescendo member from Cabrillo Middle School, said that she loves Crescendo and is looking forward to continuing with the choir program in High School.

After a short intermission, the high school choir, Company, came on stage and performed “Spirit of the Season.”

In total, Company sang twelve songs.

Two of their songs, “DEO” and “No Christmas Without You,” were directed by Bobbie Richards. Richards is a counselor at VHS and choir director at a church in Oxnard. It has become a tradition for her and piano accompanist Dr. Angela Timmons to direct a gospel song, or two in this year’s case, at “Share the Joy.”

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123744016″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

All three choirs and alumni finished the show with “Imagine” by John Lennon. They simultaneously sang the song and performed it in sign language. They were met with a standing ovation.

Heidi House, the director of all three choirs, said, “I thought this performance was absolutely spectacular. I was very very proud of them.”

Although Company practices are at 6:15 four out of five mornings a week, and often after school or on weekends, it’s rare that the students miss a practice. “They know coming in that it’s a 6:15 a.m. class four days a week and they know the rehearsal schedule” House said. “They show up. They are dedicated to be here.”

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123743786″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

“I really liked the dance choreography in this one, it was a lot better than in previous shows,” Foothill senior and Company performer Mallory McPherson-Wehan said.

The choreographers love the kids as much as the kids love the dances. Mimi Mize, choreographer for Crescendo, says that she enjoys the experience.

“I really like the kids and they try really hard,” she said.

Foothill junior Cameron Liljekvist said he loves the program. “What I love most about it is that I get to come here and I get to work on making my dream a reality” he said. “I want to be a Broadway star one day.”

Tickets were $7 for the concert. Ticket revenue and donations all go to fund the program, which costs an average of $1,500 dollars a year to run.

Senior Lorrie Lynn recommended Company shows to everyone. “Company doesn’t get enough credit,” she said. “But it’s really nice.”

Background photo and slideshow credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

Video credit: Kazu Koba and Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

What do you think?