Taking a moment to appreciate art and the impact it has on students is important, and there’s no better time to do it than the holiday season. On Monday, December 5, Valparaiso High School held its 35th annual production of “This is Our Story.” Over 1100 students gathered to show off their skills for their friends and family. It was truly the perfect way to demonstrate the importance of art as well as get people in the holiday spirit.
The night started off with a visual arts gallery comprised of students’ best art pieces. Families explored the different parts of the gallery and pointed out their favorites to their loved ones. Afterward, a group of students hinted at the wonderful performance to come with a quick jazz act that left everyone eagerly waiting for more.
Excitement hung in the air as students did their final warm-ups. It was hard to tell who was more excited–the students or their teachers.
“I just love seeing the kids get so excited about this. Seeing them all getting ready–everyone from elementary school to high school–and having their families come out to see all of this. It’s special,” said Miguel E. Rosario-Vega, director of bands at Valparaiso High School and department chair.
Max Phelps, a seventh-grader at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, was full of nervous energy as he warmed up with his trumpet. Phelps explained how hard they’d all been practicing and how excited he was to finally perform, especially since he was going to get to play with the eighth-graders.
“It was a lot of hard work–a lot of outside school work. The songs are a bit challenging, but I’m really excited. I’m going to be playing my first three-page song, 'Sleigh Ride,' and it’s going to be super fun. I just hope my lips don’t get tired,” said Phelps.
The concert that followed was one nobody will be forgetting anytime soon. Students from elementary school to high school gave incredible performances. Choirs sang all kinds of Christmas songs–everything from “Dancer and Prancer” to “Beautiful December.” The orchestras and bands played their hearts out as they brought many Christmas tunes to life.
“Santa the Barbarian and the Pirates of the North Pole” was a crowd favorite. Students chanted and howled as they played the amusing tune. Rosa-Vera even dressed up in a pirate costume for the occasion.
Overall, the 35th production of “This is Our Story” couldn’t have been a bigger success. Applause and cheer echoed throughout the gymnasium as the final song came to a close. Everyone was grateful to be a part of such an incredible experience and see firsthand how powerful art can be.
“I’m always very impressed and proud of all the work the students do. It’s just so much fun,” said Rosario-Vega.
Of course, the magical performance wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of so many different people.
“I want to give a shout-out to our athletic departments–every year they always find a way to reserve the gym for us so we have a facility. I also want to thank the custodial staff for coming and helping us set up, as well as the administration for being very supportive. And of course, I want to thank the music staff and the visual arts staff for being so enthusiastic about this,” said Rosario-Vega.
Day two of This is Our Story will be on December 6. The concert starts at 7 p.m., but you’ll definitely want to get there early to check out all the student artwork. The program will feature Valparaiso High School as well as Ben Franklin Middle school and elementary schools.
“We just want the community to come out and keep supporting the arts, whether it’s visual arts, performing arts, or dramatic arts,” said Rosario-Vega.
For more information, visit valpo.k12.in.us.