By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Ute Perkins Elementary school students performed a stage show entitled “A Wonderful World of Christmas” on Thursday, December 2 in the Moapa Valley High School Ron Dalley Auditorium. The production was a holiday extravaganza which included music, dance, colorful costumes and sets, expert stage lighting and featured the entire student body of the school.
“It really is a major undertaking,” said Perkins music teacher Vince Dasal who produces, coordinates and directs the annual presentation. “It involves all of the students; but also, to keep things running smoothly, it takes efforts from just about all of the faculty and staff, and some of the parents, to pull it all off.”
In its third year, this annual production is much more than the typical school music concert. Students don’t just standing stiffly on risers singing. Rather they are singing, dancing, moving, playing instruments, smiling and enchanting the audience. And the enthusiastic audience is a standing room only crowd!
The stage of the theatre was decked with beautiful holiday splendour for the show. The winter wonderland sets were designed by Perkins parent volunteer, Katie Eastman with help from a whole crew of other parent volunteers.
The music was challenging, but well prepared. The children sang songs with polish and enthusiasm and frequently split into harmony; often a tall order given the ages. Piano accompaniment was provided by Perkins Office Manager Sandy Frederick.
The school’s Patriot VIP (Vocal Instrumental Performance) group accompanied several songs using a variety of instruments. This group which meets outside of school time each week to rehearse, used tone chimes, percussion cups, ‘boom-whackers’ and other percussion instruments to spice up many of the songs.
The younger children performed a Hawaiian holiday spectacle. A small group of 1st and 2nd grade girls, dressed in colored grass skirt costumes, danced the hula while grades K-2 sang Mele Kalikimaka. Meanwhile a small group of “Tacky Tourist Guys” (boys from grades 1-2) provided a moving backdrop of placid tropical waves.
Selections from The Nutcracker were used for a set of dance numbers. A group of Cossack Elves (grade 2-3 boys) followed by Snowflake Maidens (grades 2-3 girls) performed graceful dances choreographed by local dance instructor Angie Lee.
The Cossacks wore colorful costumes with curled hats and shoes. The Maidens wore sparkling white lighted dresses with fiber-optic lighted head dresses. All costumes were designed and made by Katie Eastman.
Another dance number was performed by the school’s Patriot Rocker Dance Team. This group, lead by instructor Leslie May also meets each week for rehearsal in the early morning before school starts. The Rockers performed a hip-hop style number Christmas in Hollis choreographed by Marissa Leavitt.
Stage lighting, sound and set up were handled for the performance by the Moapa Valley High School Tech Class led by Drama teacher Kenna Dalley.
The evening’s finale “We Need A Little Christmas” ended with an appearance of school principal Ken Paul wearing a full body Christmas tree costume complete with presents attached to his feet. This appearance was, of course, a crowd favorite.
“In education, we talk about creating a family atmosphere and providing a sense of belonging, the feeling of being a part of something, that kids need,” Paul said in an interview. “In this production each year we have seen that it builds confidence, instructs and brings that sense of belonging. And if kids feel confident, like they belong, they perform better academically.”
A Wonderful World of Christmas was made possible with funding from the Ute Perkins Parent Teacher Association.