iN PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at the Christmas concert - InfoNews

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iN PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at the Christmas concert

Jennica Alpaugh is one of the music directors leading the Kamloops School of the Arts. At this Dec. 19, rehearsal she is helping the students practice transitioning from one part of the stage to the other. The choir consists of nearly 400 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
December 25, 2018 - 7:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - Anna MacFarlane is a six-year-old who loves all aspects of the arts, including singing “and pasta.”

She's one of roughly 400 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, practicing and rehearsing and dressing and singing in The Christmas Choral celebration at Kamloops School of the Arts this week. It's one of hundreds of similar productions from around B.C. done every year, but these students and staff let us behind the scenes to see some of the preparations through to the finished production. 

There's Lucas Woods, in Grade Six. He has been at the school since Kindergarten, and was part of the Kids Chorus in Elf the musical at Sagebrush Theatre. There's also Aiden Henderson, in Grade 12, who just joined the choir last year to improve his voice as he prepares to start an acting career in Vancouver. All three students got to sing together in this year’s Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 20. There was seating available for nearly 500 patrons, and two shows to accommodate all the performers’ families.

This year's show was titled, "Under a Winter Moon" for the opening song, and to be sang as the children transitioned to the next piece. There were two performances, one on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m., another that same evening at 6 p.m.

To get 400 kids to work together the age groups are split in to "pods." K Pod for Kindergartens, Pod 1 for grades one to three, Pod 2 for grades three to five, and Pod 3 for grades five to seven. High school students join the choir as an after-school program called KSA Secondary Choir.

Anna MacFarlane, age six, is singing in the Kamloops School of Art Christmas show for the first time. Her teacher, Carmelina Woods, says,
Anna MacFarlane, age six, is singing in the Kamloops School of Art Christmas show for the first time. Her teacher, Carmelina Woods, says, "Some kids you can see they’re very naturally arts-driven and she is one of those children. She just enjoys every single aspect of the arts."

Carmelina Woods is one of the directors of the show. She teaches Grade One and is the choir specialist for Pod 1, grades one to three. For Woods, the most challenging thing about teaching the young age group is keeping them engaged.
Carmelina Woods is one of the directors of the show. She teaches Grade One and is the choir specialist for Pod 1, grades one to three. For Woods, the most challenging thing about teaching the young age group is keeping them engaged. "A lot of what we do is in short increments," she says. "So I teach them in small doses but I also teach them the movement. So they sing and they move so that their bodies are not just sitting."

Lucas Woods, age 11, is the son of Carmelina Woods. He is part of Pod 3, which includes grades five to seven. Jennica Alpaugh, his choir director, says,
Lucas Woods, age 11, is the son of Carmelina Woods. He is part of Pod 3, which includes grades five to seven. Jennica Alpaugh, his choir director, says, "There’s a whole bunch of them that when they sing their whole face lights up and Lucas is one of those kids."

Here Lucas Woods performs in the
Here Lucas Woods performs in the "12 Days of Christmas" pretending to be a partridge in a pear tree. He says music makes him feel, "Just kinda free. It puts you away from everything in life really you’re in that moment and that’s it."

Aiden Henderson, age 17, took up choir last year to improve his voice for musical theatre. He is preparing to attend Capilano University to study acting after he graduates. His music director, Ellen McMillan says,
Aiden Henderson, age 17, took up choir last year to improve his voice for musical theatre. He is preparing to attend Capilano University to study acting after he graduates. His music director, Ellen McMillan says, "He’s a very talented young man. He’s an actor as well, and a very gifted writer."

Ellen McMillan leads the KSA Secondary Choir in song as many of the other age groups watch and listen. Aiden Henderson stands with his peers, as Lucas Woods turns to face the older group.
Ellen McMillan leads the KSA Secondary Choir in song as many of the other age groups watch and listen. Aiden Henderson stands with his peers, as Lucas Woods turns to face the older group.

The KSA Handbell Choir practices
The KSA Handbell Choir practices "Ring Little Bells" on Dec. 19, 2018, the day before the final performance. KSA claims to be the only school in the Interior of B.C. that has a handbell choir. These students are from grades five to seven and were selected by their teachers to join the group.

The KSA Secondary Choir warm up before the afternoon performance on Dec. 20, 2018. Ellen McMillan leads the vocal warm up.
The KSA Secondary Choir warm up before the afternoon performance on Dec. 20, 2018. Ellen McMillan leads the vocal warm up. "[Just before a show] sometimes my kids will tell me I’m too stressed, they can tell because… I do things too fast," McMillan laughs. "Usually it works out better than I expected. Once in a while not, but you just leave that on the floor." McMillan has been playing piano since age five, and says performing energizes her.

Working back stage for the performance is Jack Henderson, age 15, who specializes in drama at Kamloops School of the Arts. He got the job by being in the right place at the right time.
Working back stage for the performance is Jack Henderson, age 15, who specializes in drama at Kamloops School of the Arts. He got the job by being in the right place at the right time. "I was in here with drama class setting up the gym and I was near by and Ms. McMillan said, 'Jack! I have a job for you!' And I said, 'Yes.'"

Playing piano is Wilf Froese, who performs with the principal of the school Sydney Griffith.
Playing piano is Wilf Froese, who performs with the principal of the school Sydney Griffith. "[Froese] is a musician and businessman and he has been associated with this school for years and years out of the kindness of his heart," Griffith says.

Purple lights shine on Aiden Henderson as he sings with the KSA Secondary Choir. He says before a show he may get anxious, but not uncomfortable.
Purple lights shine on Aiden Henderson as he sings with the KSA Secondary Choir. He says before a show he may get anxious, but not uncomfortable. "I’m not very confident typically," he says. "But when I perform it gives me a sense of confidence I wouldn’t have otherwise."

Anna MacFarlane sings and dances with her group, swaying a paper star during the afternoon performance.
Anna MacFarlane sings and dances with her group, swaying a paper star during the afternoon performance. "I feeled a little bit nervous but also really excited. [After the show] I feeled so proud of myself," she says.

Rhianna Jacometti takes photos of the performance. She has two kids in the show in Kindergarten and Grade Four.
Rhianna Jacometti takes photos of the performance. She has two kids in the show in Kindergarten and Grade Four. "It's cool how they integrated every age level in the performance," she says. Next to her is Sherry Hedges (left) who has a grandchild performing with the Kindergarten group. She says she loved the show, "I wish it was longer. Maybe we’ll come back at six too."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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