When Brookings-Harbor High School musicians gathered Wednesday to perform holiday music, it was more than a concert - it was a party.
Rather than the usual seating arrangement, chairs were placed around tables in the school auditorium, with all but the Concert Band sharing the same floor. Members of the audience were treated to desserts while they listened to music in a laid-back, intimate setting.
When music director Greg Goode tried to introduce the Concert Band on the stage, the audience was busy visiting while enjoying desserts.
"It's a little bit noisy in here, but that's the way a party is suppose to be," Goode told the audience before beginning the concert.
Taking the stage at the opening of the concert was the Concert Band, which performed "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Scherzo for Santa."
The Concert Choir performed "The First Noel" accompanied by Anastasia Hollingsworth on violin. The group then performed "All On A Silent Night," while holding faux candles with the house lights off. This led to a somber moment as it was announced that there were 27 candles, one for each victim of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The announcement was followed by a brief moment of silence.
The room returned to being upbeat when Grace Notes sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," followed by a performance of "Santa Baby," where Jeremy Young sat in a big chair and was serenaded by members of the all-girl choir.
Virginia Riddle accompanied both choirs on piano. The groups also led the audience in singing Christmas carols.
The audience then received a surprised when Perry Ryan burst into the room playing "Sexy Sax Man" on tenor saxophone. The tune, which is has gone viral on YouTube, is a favorite among the students, according to Goode.
An breakout group comprised of members of the Jazz Band performed a set that included an improvised guitar solo that seemingly kept going until Goode kindly told the performer, Lawrence Lamar, that it was time to stop.
The Jazz Band performed "Jingle Bell Rock," "Through The Looking Glass" and the ever popular "Linus and Lucy," the theme song from the "Peanuts" cartoon specials.
The last group to perform was Sea Breeze, which performed "Carol of the Bells," "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" and "Ding-a Ding-a Ding." Sea Breeze alumni in the audience were invited to join in the final song.
The evening ended with all choirs joining together to lead the audience in singing a Christmas carol, but not before Goode asked musicians who wore ugly Christmas outfits to come onto the stage. The winners (or perhaps losers) were Matthew Raleigh and Hannah Goergen who were chosen by an applause vote from the audience.
Highlighting the evening was a raffle of a Christmas wreath and floral arrangement donated by Winchuck Gardens.
The next concerts are scheduled for April 3 and 4.