St. John students welcome public to free Winter Music Showcase

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

LAPLACE — This Christmas, Silent Night and Joy to the World are among the holiday classics St. John the Baptist Parish students will perform during the third annual Winter Music Showcase.

Free and open to the public, the performance takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at LaPlace Elementary School and presents an opportunity for music students to demonstrate what they’ve learned while brightening spirits with nostalgic holiday sounds.

The East St. John High School band, the Emily C. Watkins Elementary/John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet band, the East St. John Preparatory Academy choir, the LaPlace Elementary Choir, the West St. John Elementary School choir and the Fifth Ward Elementary School choir comprise the music lineup.

The event is coordinated by the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School System Parent Teacher Organization to forward parish-wide promotion of the arts, according to PTO representative Patricia Triche.

“Mr. [Superintendent Kevin] George and our School Board have made it an initiative to push music education,” Triche said.

“It’s a way to give students at the schools opportunities through choirs and bands and to show what they’ve learned.”

She said the event started in association with a Blessed to be a Blessing donation drive and continued as a way to unite the community through music.

St. John the Baptist Parish master teacher and Fifth Ward Elementary music teacher Rebecca Holmes said performance opportunities are evidence of District program growth over the past five years.

“Whether students are performing in class for peers and classroom teachers, at school and community events or at local extracurricular events, the experience of preparing for musical performance is a growing trend,” Holmes said, noting performance allows children to apply their unique strengths and talents toward the success of their class or ensemble.

Holmes said the program features performances from music classes that meet daily and ensemble groups that practice after school hours. East St. John Preparatory Academy choir supporter Shannon Breaud will join district music teachers during the event.

Audience members are invited to participate in the performance of holiday classics.

Aside from spreading holiday cheer, the music showcase highlights local students and speaks to the importance of preserving funding for music programs, according to Jennifer Boquet, communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.

“It’s a way to highlight what our music students have done this year and to get the community into the holiday spirit,” Boquet said.

“The arts are an important part of educating students. It’s always more fun to play for a packed house, so we hope people come out and support them.”