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Hundreds of students take part in NJMS Christmas Classic

Students, staff, and community members came together to transform North Johnston Middle School into a performing arts center to host the school’s first NJMS Christmas Classic.

A record breaking 290 students participated in the Christmas Classic. More than a thousand guests came to the performances held on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8, raising $2,484 for the school’s Fine Arts Department.

The school’s Drama Club presented the play “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The school’s band, choruses, and Glee Club provided specially selected holiday music to complement the play.

“Being in the play allowed all of us to gather together as a family,” said eighth grade student Joy Barber. “It was the first time I was in a play, and I loved it!”

The Drama Club, led by director and teacher Annis Kennedy, began planning for the event in August. For most students this was the first time they had ever done any type of acting or theater.

The bands, led by director Melissa Sevigny, performed holiday music throughout the play. The sixth grade band warmed up the crowd during the pre-show, and the seventh and eighth grade band entertained the crowd during scene changes. They played holiday favorites including “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Deck the Halls.”

The choruses and Glee Club, led by director Lekisha Crouch, also provided music to complement the play. The sixth grade chorus kicked off the pre-show with a joyful arrangement of “O Christmas Tree.” The eighth grade chorus performed “Let it Snow!”, with student animation and movements, as well as “Where Are You Christmas?” and “Christmas is a Feeling.”

NJMS art students, led by teacher Cary Quillian, contributed to the Christmas Classic by creating all of the props for the show, including a 12 foot tall Christmas tree. The tree was made entirely of recycle plastic, chicken wire, and a volleyball pole. The art students made other set decorations including banners, Charlie Brown’s mailbox, Snoopy’s dog house, and Lucy’s psychiatric booth.

The PTA opened the concession stand to provide refreshments for the large crowds. A photo booth, manned by student volunteers from NJHS, was also available in the lobby of the gymnasium.

School staff came together before the performances to create and distribute tickets, create a program, and to deck the halls of the school, creating a festive feel that let all attendees know they were in for something very special. School staff gave of their time to assist musical groups, park cars, greet guests, take tickets, accept donations, and to clean up after each performance.

“Many parents asked once the event was over if we will do this again next year,” said Principal Kenneth Sumler. “We’re planning an in-house event each semester which will give the students great experience, massive learning opportunities, and it will also give the community the opportunity to see how great the students here truly are.”