Fifth- and sixth-grade bands get families into holiday spirit

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Director Jeff Penny had the sixth grade students come up to introduce the piece to the songs they played. The band performed “Let Heaven and Nature Sing,” “Jolly Old Sleigh Ride,“ “Up on the House Top“ and “Jingle Bell Rock.“

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Jeff Penny thanked high school director Jeff Hvizdos for his help in integrating to the school's music program. Hvizdos previously taught the middle school bands. Penny showed his appreciation by allowing Hvizdos direct the sixth grade's “Jolly Old Sleigh Ride.“

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Jeff Penny directed Poland Middle School's fifth and sixth grade bands on Dec. 12. Together, the bands played seven songs.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The first piece the fifth grade played described their first couple months of learning how to play their instruments. Pictured, principal David Purins narrated the piece.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The fifth grade's band has 102 members and played the songs, "First Performance," “Good King Wenceslas” and “Jingle Bells” during their performance.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Poland Middle School’s fifth- and sixth-grade bands performed on the night of Dec. 11 for their families at Poland Seminary High School’s auditorium.

Director Jeff Penny began the event by welcoming the parents, then introducing principal David Purins. He had the fifth-grade students come forward so parents could easily take photos of their children.

The fifth-grade band began with a song called “First Performance.“ Purins gave narration to the story detailing the fifth-grade’s first few months of playing an instrument prior to the concert.

The song started with Purins describing how the first couple classes went. Penny directed the students to make loud, chaotic noises. Then, Purins explains how they soon learned their first note, and the band held out a single note together. Eventually, they learned to play a few songs.

The fifth-grade students also played “Good King Wenceslas” and “Jingle Bells.” The band consisted of 102 members. They just began playing in the band at the end of August.

The sixth-grade took the stage following the fifth-grade. Penny also directed these 51 students. They began their performance with “Let Heaven and Nature Sing.”

Penny invited Jeff Hvizdos, the director of the high school band, on stage to thank him for all the help during the school year. Hvizdos, formerly the middle school band director, assisted Penny in getting the students ready for the concert. As a token of appreciation, Penny allowed Hvizdos to direct the second song of the band’s set, “Jolly Old Sleigh Ride.“

The band finished their show with “Silent Night“ and “A Twisted Night Before Christmas.“ The latter was a song where the students went back a forth between the melodies of “Up on the House Top“ and “Jingle Bell Rock.“

Penny thanked many of the school’s staff, including Hvizdos, Purins and associate principal Lisa Iberis. He noted how much he appreciates the front office’s daily assistance. He also expressed gratitude toward the teachers and superintendent David Janofa as well as the students’ families for helping them with their music and supporting the students’ interests.

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