Wednesday December 12, 2012

BELLOWS FALLS -- The organization dedicated to revitalizing the village's downtown economy also wants to ignite the entire area's holiday spirit.

The Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance and its Shop Local program plans to present a holiday concert involving the local high school's performing ensembles at the Bellows Falls Opera House on Saturday, Dec. 15. Free to the community, the show is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and aimed at taking people's minds off the stress of holiday preparations.

"It's to have something festive and memorable and to showcase our young people, who give so much to the community through music," said Rosemarri Roth, the executive director of BFDDA.

Mary Westbrook-Geha (choral) and Nick Pelton (instrumental) will lead three BFUHS performing ensembles in a program composed of holiday and traditional music repertoire.

The chorus, a class Westbrook-Geha teaches at Bellows Falls Union High School, will kick off the hour-long concert.

Pelton leads the award-winning concert band and the jazz ensemble, both of which will follow the chorus. He said the band will play "The Liberty Bell March" by John Philip Sousa, a type of musical composition called a chaconne and a trumpet concerto as well as a concerto for B flat trumpet, which will be performed as a solo by senior Emily Vaccaro.

Vaccaro and bandmates Tim Jones (alto saxophone) and McKenzie Brandon (tuba) got the opportunity to take a master class with members of the "The President's Own" United States Marine Band when the military musicians visited BFUHS in November for a concert on their Northeast tour.

"They're doing a nice job preparing," Pelton said of his 25-member concert band. "We're sort of pulling together some last-minute details."

He said the students of the concert band class have been getting ready since late October and are excited to show village residents what they can do.

"This is a great time for us ... to play at a really refined level," Pelton said.

He said the seven-member jazz ensemble, an extra-curricular club at BFUHS, will perform Duke Ellington hits "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Caravan" as well as a medley called "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Pelton said he thinks all his musicians will represent themselves and their school well.

Roth said she will be in attendance and is greatly looking forward to the performances.

"I just hope (the students) bring as much joy to themselves as I'm sure they will bring to us," she said.

A professional singer for many years, she is especially excited to hear the chorus.

This concert is sponsored in part by Greater Falls Insurance Inc. and Connecticut River Transit.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.