Polar Express concert combines departments for musical storytelling

Lauren Clarke, features editor

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This December, the choir, orchestra and band programs are uniting to host the first musical storytelling of Polar Express. On Dec.16 at 7 p.m. and on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m., a winter extravaganza of music will be held in the BG gym. The fine arts programs including orchestra, choir and band are joining for their final winter concert before the start of 2018.

“It’s a musical story telling of the classic children’s book, ‘Polar Express.’ The music pieces aren’t based on the movie, but on the book. There’s representation of the different scenes, like when the hot chocolate arrived,” orchestra director Elizabeth Bennett said.

Although, the song “Believe” was a part of the movie’s score, sung by Josh Groban, it will also be performed at Polar Express. At this concert, there are other common holiday songs being performed, such as “Hava Nagila” and “Sleigh Ride”.

“My favorite part of it is that we’re bringing in classic Christmas songs that everyone will know,” junior Sydney Sadler said. “It gives the performance a nostalgic feel.”

The targeted audience isn’t only restricted to younger kids and their parents, but also the entire community. Tickets cost $5 and they’re on sale at the door.

“Our goal is to reach out to the community and to bring in people who have never stepped foot in BG,” Bennett said. “We want future BG students to come and see what’s in store and for current alumni to come back and visit.”

Audiences aren’t coming only for the musical concert, but also the activities that will follow the performance. Similar to the winter show last year, “Elephant and Piggie: We are in a Play,” there will be an instrument “petting zoo” where kids can play out a variety of instruments from both orchestra and band and participate in interactive crafts.

“Just like last year, we’re continuing the trend of the different music entities coming together and connecting with the audience,” Sadler said.

These activities are a chance for high schoolers to engage with their audience. Students will not only be performing the music, but also participating in the instrument petting zoo and crafts alongside audience members.

“We’re preparing music, but we’re also preparing to work with the kids,” Bennett said. “We work on trying to be more welcoming, exciting and engaging to break down that wall between the audience and performers.”

Also similar to “Elephant and Piggie” is the opportunity for audiences to meet an iconic character. Because Polar Express is a holiday story, Santa Claus will be available for a meet and greet after the Sunday performance on Dec. 17.  Additionally, in order to condense and allow all programs to still have the same opportunity to perform give the new school calendar the groups needed to combine.

“With the changes in the fine arts programs like the new choir groups, I’m sure the directors wanted to give us more opportunities,” senior Ishan Patel said.

Although students have been preparing for this show for about two months, the music directors have been planning for the event for more than a year. So, hop on board as the Polar Express takes off Dec. 16.

“This show is going to be a really fun experience,” Patel said. “It’s exciting to have everyone working together.”

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