By ABBY SLANKER
Hilltop Elementary School second-grade students traveled the world and took their audience along for the ride, during the school’s annual Holidays Around the World Dec. 18.
The students, led by Tom Scurich, Hilltop music teacher, and accompanied by Roni Sue Gregory on the piano, treated their families, friends and fellow Hilltoppers to a special international holiday program by singing songs representing several countries.
“We are about to enjoy one of our many traditions at Hilltop. We are receiving a holiday gift from our second-graders — the gift of music and song. They have put in a lot of hard work. There is nothing better than beautiful young children singing from their hearts all dressed up in beautiful holiday clothes,” said Cathy Mowry, Hilltop Elementary School principal as she welcomed the crowd.
The students entered the multi-purpose room singing “Joy to the World” and, throughout the program, performed the songs “O Christmas Tree,” of Germany, “O Come, Little Children,” of Scandinavia, “Deck the Halls,” of Great Britain, “O Hanukkah,” of Israel and Jewish Nation, “The Pinata Song,” of Mexico, “Harambee,” African-American, “Up on the Housetop/Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” of U.S.A. and “We Are The Family” by Ray Repp.
Each song represented its country of origin and between numbers, students read the holiday traditions of the countries highlighted. For example, before singing “O Christmas Tree,” a student noted that Germany was the first country to have the Christmas tree. Before singing “Harambee,” a student noted that holiday was started in 1966 to celebrate African roots and starts Dec. 26 and is celebrated for seven days.
During several songs, the students broke into the classroom groups to act out a country’s holiday tradition or to dance to the song. A number of students donned sombreros while singing “The Pinata Song,” and placed candy canes on a Christmas tree while singing “Deck the Halls.”
“Our second-graders have worked very hard and have had a long and exciting day. They have been nothing less than outstanding, said Scurich, as he addressed the audience. “Thank you for being here to support our students.”
After thanking all those at Hilltop whose hard work contributed to the success of the program, especially second-grade teachers Edith Narducci, Michelle Tancer, Bethany Lopatta and Gretchen Fernstrom, Scurich asked the audience to join in singing “Silent Night” to close the program.
The students sang the first verse in German and for the second verse, the audience joined in to sing the classic holiday carol in English, which, according to Scurich, was composed by Franz Gruber and was first sung in Austria in 1818.