By ABBY SLANKER
Second-grade students at Hilltop Elementary School took their families, friends and fellow students on a holiday adventure around the world during the school’s annual Holidays Around the World Dec. 17.
The students, led by Tom Scurich, Hilltop music teacher, and accompanied by Roni Sue Gregory on the piano and Nanette Midgley on the guitar, performed the holiday program which included songs representing several countries.
“Welcome everyone. Our second-grade students have worked very hard on their program and are very excited to present their performance for you. Thank you for coming,” said Joe Maroni, Hilltop Elementary School principal as he welcomed the crowd.
The students entered the multi-purpose room with a processional of “Joy to the World” and, throughout the program, performed the songs “O Christmas Tree,” of Germany, “O Come, Little Children,” of Scandinavia, “The Friendly Beasts,” of Southern Europe, “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 in 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 and 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.
A student also noted, before the performance of “Deck the Halls,” that many customs come from England, and before singing “Up on the Housetop/Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” that in the U.S., before children go to bed on Christmas Eve, they hang their stockings and leave a snack for Santa and his reindeer.
In introducing “We Are the Family,” a student proclaimed that families around the world come together and celebrate the holidays in their own special way.
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.”
Six students performed solos during “The Friendly Beasts,” with three of them dressed as a donkey, sheep and cow.
“Good afternoon and welcome. Thank you for being here to support our. The second-graders have been working very hard and prepared a great performance for you,“ said Scurich, as he addressed the audience.
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, and including the entire Hilltop faculty and staff, Scurich announced the students would like to invite the audience to join them 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.