Christmas Program by the Chamber Ensemble of the Durham School of the Arts

For a number of years Mary Casey, the Director of K-12 Art Education for the Durham Public Schools has worked with Rotarian Malcolm White and our Executive Secretary Bernadette Jones to present a musical program for our Christmas program.

These programs are always special and many spouses and other family members make a point of coming as guests. This year was special too but a little different. Many years the performers are younger children and a big part of the musical experience is all wrapped up in enthusiasm with a bow of cuteness that evokes wide smiles as surely as eggnog.  A lot of the fun is observing the intensity, boredom, silliness, distraction and kids being kids especially between pieces.

What was different this year was that we got the first team, the all stars, the top performers which placed the emphasis on the music. Ms. Casey turned the program over toDurhamSchoolof the Arts principal David Hawks who in turn introduced Sean Grier who directed the DSA Chamber Ensemble. The Chamber Ensemble is an advanced level vocal music group at DSA that consists of junior and senior students.

Mr. Grier moved the ensemble through the performance with elegance and humor. The eight song set began with the Carol of the Bells and ended with the Hallelujah Chorus and, after a standing ovation, finished with Auld Lang Syne.  I’m no music critic but when a performance touches me emotionally enough to bring a tear to my eye I realize that they’ve taken me from the moment to another warm and comfortable place.

So, whether it’s the wide smiles evoked by the younger, less polished performers or the quieter joy delivered by talented juniors and seniors, this annual Rotary event never fails to light the Christmas spirit.

The other thing it does is remind us that DPS is slowly but surely becoming the world class system that was envisioned years ago when things really weren’t that great. Many of our Rotary efforts with the schools involve helping in areas that have struggled. It’s nice to see that magnet schools like DSA are part of the effort too and providing all students an opportunity to excel in their own way.
To learn more about the DurhamSchoolof the Arts, they have a very interesting website at  http://www.dsa.dpsnc.net/.

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