The annual holiday showcase took place Saturday evening and was hosted by the CCHS Stage Craft class
It was a wish for a Happy Christmahanakwanzaa that set the tone for last Friday nights holiday concert held at the Crook County High School auditorium.
As difficult as the shows name was to pronounce, it was easy to get in the holiday spirit as an eclectic mix of local talent took the stage to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Produced by Anita Hoffmans Stage Craft class, the show was, according to Hoffman, a little bit of everything meant to be a way to get together, have fun, and get in the holiday spirit.
The opening act of students Olivia Saenz and Hollie Hicks as elves rapping out the song Walking in a Winter Wonderland set the tone for the audience to expect anything and everything during the hour-long celebration.
Masters of Ceremony senior Hicks and junior Mackenzie McCulloch kept the show on track, introducing the acts and providing a bit of holiday banter in between.
Christmahanakwanzaa? Huh? exclaimed Hicks. That's quite a long title for a show.
It could have been longer, replied McCulloch, but we didnt know how to add the word solstice to the title.
The show was entertainment for most and a lot of work for some. Students in Hoffmans class ran the production, led by stage manager Melody McManus. She was supported by lighting director R.J. Anderson, soundman Caleb Burton, floor manager Danny Turner, curtain controller Ella McWilliams, and crew members Ashley Heater, Kaleb Warbus, Rue Anderson, Rita Smith, and Jayvon Spencer.
This show required me to be here after school for a lot of long hours, laughed McManus, as she kept one eye on the crew on the catwalk.
Never one to crave the stage, McManus was content to let the performers shine, literally, in her spotlight.
The biggest challenge was setting up the next act, quietly, while another performer was on stage, she explained. We just kept practicing until we got it right.
Saenz and Hicks were followed on stage by sophomores Abigail Daly and Emma Bartley singing Mr. Santa, Alex Perrys unique Slumberwell one-man techno band act, Crook County Middle School teacher Matt Fischers narration of The Innkeeper Monologue, Wyatt and Jozee Moss and local musician Chad Campbells performance of If You Just Believe, and The ladies of the jazz choir singing Candy Cane Lane.
A highlight of the evening was the 100-student-strong Ochoco Elementary Bilingual Choir, comprised of kindergarten through second grade students, offering Spanish versions of Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Cathy Fall, teacher at Ochoco Elementary, said that the choral group was formed four years ago as part of the dual language program. The class is truly bilingual, she explained. Half of our students speak Spanish and half speak English.
Joe and Kara Becker and family, reminding the packed auditorium of the Sound of Music Von Trapps, and seemingly at odds over what version of Jingle Bells to present, began by singing about a smelly Batman and rusted Chevrolets before finally settling on the more traditional lyrics.
The Crook County High School Jazz Bands medley of winter tunes wrapped the show.
School productions rely on local community support, and this show was no exception. Back Alley Bicycles provided a wheel to be used as a Christmas wreath and Ella McWilliams family supplied craft paper to make decorations. Hoffmans fellow teachers, band director Ken Chaney and choir director Hannah Moorman, took part in the production as well.
For Hoffman it was about showcasing local talent in a festive, holiday setting.
We have a lot of talent here in Prineville, said Hoffman, and we want everyone to come out and get in the spirit. Its a gift to the community.
Hoffman is already looking forward to next year, hoping for an expanded cast of characters.
All those knife throwers, fire eaters, and anyone who can cluck like a hen --we want you next year, said Hoffman. Happy Holidays! she added with a smile.