Corrine VandenBerg’s face beamed with joy.
The Payson Elementary School music teacher always seems to wear a smile. It’s a little gift to those she interacts with on a daily basis.
But it was the gift of song from her students that seemed to almost overwhelm her following the PES Country Holiday Concert in the Payson High School Auditorium on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Four-hundred and sixty PES students capped off two months of practice by filling ears with song and hearts with joy during their annual performance.
“I’m so proud of them all,” VandenBerg said after the show. “We didn’t have lights or sound during rehearsal because of prior commitments, so this was a dry run. And they did so well.”
The event is so popular that scalpers would get the kind of money they’re raking in from reselling tickets to Elton John’s final tour if organizers didn’t split the concert into two shows with 230 students in each.
But admission is free and family members flocked to the show.
The 230 students from Mrs. Anderson, Ms. Daley, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. McKee’s classes performed at 5 p.m.. Then 230 more pint-sized carolers from Mrs. Chilson, Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Ormand and Mrs. Seeley’s classes took the stage at 6 o’clock.
Each group performed seven songs under VandenBerg’s direction.
Parents and grandparents flocked to the edge of the stage to take pictures before the start of each show then returned to their seats. Many shot cell phone video during the performance.
Kindergarten through second-grade students opened the shows with “Winter in the Country.” Then the kindergartners performed “Listen to the Jingles” and “A Gift for Santa.” The first- and second-graders followed with “Everlasting Fruitcake” and “I Hear Those Jingle Bells.”
The show closed with all 230 students singing “Silent Night” and “Listener Kids.”
Turns out, the best Christmas gifts aren’t the pile of presents under the tree for the children.
It’s the joy on the faces of the children up there on stage, belting out the Christmas songs.