Choir teacher Duncan Frater conducts a group of SMUS students in Christ Church Cathedral, as a large crowd of families watch

Performing Arts programs at SMUS are powered by participation in the Annual Fund. Thank you to everyone who gives to support A Musical Year at SMUS each year. 

Although most schools have large ensembles, many are optional and take place after or before school. At SMUS, we believe that performing is an integral part of education. At the end of the day, a lawyer performs, a surgeon performs, and even a teacher performs. We'd like to think that the performing arts help to prepare our students for a variety of different professions beyond being a musician. Having the courage to stand up on stage and perform is a risk, and it takes courage. We strive to help increase the confidence of the students and we want the students to take pride in their efforts.
This past week, we heard both the Middle School bands and the string ensembles perform; meanwhile, the Junior School gymnasium reverberated with the sounds of the Grade 4 and 5 strings, and the Senior School hosted a fantastic Small Ensemble Concert. The students at all concerts were well-prepared, they played in tune, they watched/listened to the conductor, and not a single student lost their music somewhere in between the bathroom and the stage. Congratulations to all of the SMUS music teachers – David Enns, Christopher Smith, Anja Rebstock, Ian Farish, Guillen Fabregas, and Peter Butterfield – for preparing the students and organizing these events, and the ones to come!
Although we have many performances from our band and strings programs at this time of the year, the choirs have been mostly silent for the past two winters due to the Carol Service being put on hold for the health and safety of our entire community, but as we move through the end of the pandemic, we are delighted to celebrate together once more.
This coming week, more than 400 students from the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools will be performing at Christ Church Cathedral for the Cross-Campus Carol Service. We have been working hard to perfect the high notes and to master some tricky harmonies. The Senior School choir has also been working diligently to learn two popular carols, "Still, Still, Still", and "Still Nacht". "Still" in German translates to "silent" in English, possibly a reference to the past two years for our choir programs.
In surveys and reflections, students often express that they worry about singing at the wrong time, singing wrong notes, or that the voice will do something funny. My response is always, "that could happen, and it will be okay." As a trained clarinet player, I know first-hand that an awkward "squawk" can come at any time, and one's ego has to be ready for it. All of the students, no matter the level, are encouraged to sing with confidence and pride as they help to celebrate the Christmas season, and if a funny sound happens, to just keep going.
In the final week of the school, our youngest SMUS students will be presenting a Christmas concert of their own. Christopher Smith has been working hard to prepare the primary grades several fun holiday songs, and he looks forward to sharing their angelic voices with an enthusiastic audience. The Senior School music teachers and their students will also present a Winter Concert of their own in the last days before the break.
We are fortunate to have the gift of music at SMUS. We are also fortunate to have incredible students to work with. It is only fitting that we are able to come together, unifying our skills, to present performances marking the end of a term and the end of the year.