Too Cute For Words ... So They All Sang


Payson Elementary School students went all-out for their holiday concert, which filled the auditorium with proud parents for two shows.

Payson Elementary School students went all-out for their holiday concert, which filled the auditorium with proud parents for two shows. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Payson Elementary School music teacher Christie Varner attended to a blizzard of details to make the concert a rousing success.

It’s the little things.

That includes a kindergartner dressed in a snowman costume jumping to illustrate the “Snowman Jump” song his classmates from Jane McDonald’s and Mimi Daily’s classes sang.

The stage setup would have made any hostess proud — swags of garland, wreaths and two Christmas trees festooned in lights surrounded by packages, which made it look more like a living room than a stage — only the risers gave it away.

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The details did not stop there. Payson Elementary School (PES) music teacher Christie Varner outdid herself with props for each of the 14 songs, dance moves for the kids, and students narrating between each set to keep the flow of the performance going.

Despite the brilliant strategy of dividing up the school into two concert times, one from 5 to 6 p.m. and the other from 6:30 until 7:30, the Payson High School Auditorium overflowed with families.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings from toddlers through high school age lined the walls and aisles of the auditorium.

Dressed in their holiday best, the PES students filed up onto the stage wearing taffeta, velvet, sparkly tulle, ties, dress pants and hair combed perfectly into place, to belt out holiday favorites such as “Jingle Bells” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” in addition to cautionary tunes like “Don’t Eat a Poinsettia” set to a Latin rhythm that got even the toddlers dancing in the aisles.

Varner had the students mix up the concert by using instruments such as recorders, hand bells, tambourines and drum sticks.

Throughout, Varner stood at the front of the rows of students directing them by mimicking the dance moves, pointing to the correct fingering for the recorders she had painstakingly drawn out large enough for the students to see from the risers and making sure the correct hand bell rang by coloring the bells.

All the classes sang the final song, “Go In Peace.”

“Now you are free

Go in peace

Go in peace...”

As the final strains floated out over the audience, the families gathered their children and headed off into a night drenched in a sudden storm.

Varner remained to remove every festive detail to prepare for the next performance coming into the auditorium.

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