With laughs and giggles, grins and winks, crescendos and choruses, the Rim Country Middle School band and choir members entertained family and friends at their fall concert.
Director Mike Buskirk outdid himself resurrecting the hand bell choir, sharing his band’s talent and — something he was sure he could not do — showcasing a huge choir.
“This is my first year teaching choir in 38 years and the last time I taught choir I went from 74 students to 32,” he told the audience. “I guess I’m doing better now.”
The choir sang five songs starting with “It Starts with Me” by Teresa Jennings.
Buskirk started the song with one lone girl with a perky personality melodically belting, “It starts with me,” then she looked around the audience with a glint in her eye, turned in the other direction and belted out the sentence again.
The choir then did a rendition of “I Saw Three Ships,” which Buskirk said had evolved from the intended Celtic rhythms into a rousing pirate’s song.
After singing “Merry Christmas Bells” and “Sing We Now of Christmas,” the last song featured soloists who sang about candles being lit in different cities of the world to celebrate the season.
Buskirk’s wife, Daria Mason, showed off the 13-member color guard she has nurtured throughout the year. Four of the members that called themselves the Elite Guard, performed on stage to the song “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles.
“We created this number after studying a unit on bullying,” said Mason.
The four girls impressed the crowd with their enthusiasm and artistry.
The band struggled in spots with its music, but Buskirk explained why. “This is the first year the band does not meet every day and the first year the band is divided by age, not ability,” he said.
Rim Country Middle School has moved to a block schedule designed to increase students’ exposure to math, science and language arts. But that forced the extracurricular classes to give up meeting every day.
None of that dampened the crowd’s excitement when the marching band battery started in with the rat-a-tat cadence used to bring in the rest of the band.
Drum major Maddy Beier stood on a platform in the middle of the audience to lead the band in “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” Both compositions it played throughout the marching band season.
Two flute players performed solos. Angelica Poe played the “Schumann Melody No. 6” accompanied by Mason on the piano. Bailey Wilson played “Silent Night” accompanied by the band playing modified instruments that looked like tuning forks with rubber mallets, which created a sound like bells.
Buskirk said they were practice instruments for the actual bells he introduced.
“We used to have a handbell choir,” he said, “This year I decided to bring it back.”
The bells rang in the spirit of the season with chiming clarity.
For the audience stuffed full of mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncles, the middle school musicians put on quite a show.
Help the band!
On Saturday, Dec. 14, the RCMS band hosted a fund-raiser at the Sawmill Theatres, which sold out two theaters. Sawmill donated the proceeds to the band. Buskirk concluded last week’s concert with an appeal for donations through Credit for Kids, a tax credit program that paid for many of the instruments the kids used. For information, call the district office at (928) 474-2070.