Riverside’s annual Christmas concert was held on December 7 with both Ms. Glenda Ottens and Nyssa Estrella as the hosts. The SFU student teacher, Mr. Ian Cohen, also returned to conduct the bands and the choir, and to receive a special thank you from Ms. Ottens and the students. There was a raffle, food, and lots of music to enjoy in the theatre.

Out of respect for students who do not celebrate Christmas (or other celebrations) or are not permitted to because of their religion, the first half of the concert until the intermission was no holiday or celebration related songs. Once the intermission began, they could leave if they wished to. This part of the concert was filled with songs from the Remembrance Day concert, such as “I am Canadian” and “Champ d’honneur,” two pieces with music from the movies How to Train your Dragon and Fantastic Beasts, along with a jazzy song about zombies were performed. Ms. Ottens’ Music Fusion class also had a small ensemble performing “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé. During the 15-minute intermission, parents were given time to sign up for the raffle to win prizes while small groups from the choir sang Christmas carols. The money from the raffle will go toward a field trip for the music students in the spring. Ms. Ottens plans to go somewhere in the interior.

The second half of the concert started with a Chanukah song performed by the senior band. After that it was all Christmas themed songs. Most of the songs were traditional while some may have been new for some audience members, such as the performance of a Japanese song titled “Yuki” (meaning snow) from the junior band, then the senior band joined them, and they performed “Swingin’ Jingle” together. The song contains the familiar and recognizable tune of “Jingle Bells,” but fits more into the Jazz genre of music. The choir captivated the audience with an acapella performance of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and then lightened the mood with the gospel song “Baby Born in Bethlehem.”

The junior band and senior band collaborated for many of the songs they performed, and many students said that their parents were very impressed at how well and how much stronger they had performed together.

As the first performance of the band and concert to their parents, the music students were very proud to show their skills and their improvement from the year before. They hope to improve and learn even more in time for their next concert in 2018.