Program Report: Christmas Program – December 19, 2016

The Durham Public School Program was preceded by the Durham Rotary Chorus led by Vince Simonetti as seen in several of the pictures above.

It was a very merry Monday at the last meeting of the year. Rotary member Steed Rollins introduced us to the K-12 Director of Arts Education for Durham Public Schools, Mary Casey. Ms Casey oversees the programming and continuity of the arts programs across the school system, and she invited the music students from Little River K-8 to our meeting.

The arts program at DPS has three important branches:

Arts Education – classes taught in visual and performing arts in the schools

Arts Integration – teaching arts within other classes, like science or English

Arts Exposure – exposing students to the arts around the triangle from museums to live performances like the Nutcracker

Leading the music program at Little River, the only K-8 school in the DPS system, Ms Kirlauski introduced us to her 70 elementary school students and 20 middle school students who wowed us with their holiday carols and piano performance. As a smaller school, Ms Kirlauski is able to teach piano to her students instead of band.

On piano we heard four middle school students perform Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and Deck the Halls (duet).

For the carols Ms. Kirlauski’s assistant, Dr Dan Huff, professor of music at UNC, accompanied her on piano. Dr Huff is also Ms. Kirlauski’s father.

The middle school students tenderly sang “Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow.”

The elementary school students moved from the gentle “Who Has Seen the Wind?” to the more raucous “Please Let It Snow.”

Together the students brought down the house with a choreographed version of Mr. Santa that is a decades old tradition at Little River to honor the music teacher who started the tradition many years ago.

Mark you calendars for “An Evening of Entertainment” on Friday, March 3rd when DPS students will perform at DPAC. Ticket sales go to funding scholarships for students.

Submitted by Kate Elia

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