It was the annual school Christmas Concert with the community invited.
There was no room at the inn – or rather the Blindman Valley Ag Centre hall or the hall’s parking lot with people having to park in the arena parking area or by the recycle area and walk to the Bentley school’s Christmas concert on December 12.
Although 320 chairs had been pre-set up, even after every other chair the hall had was hauled out, some people stood at the back and around the sides of the hall. The audience was an estimated 400 people.
“The show’s message is about ‘Christmas is a time for giving, caring, and sharing what we have, even if we don’t have a lot. We can GIVE of ourselves in service to others,” stated teacher/show director Marla Kolybaba. “This point is super important to me.”
The entire program was projected onto a big screen at the front so people everywhere could see the performers.
First up were the youngest ones.
The playschool children sang songs like Incy Wincy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Head and Shoulders, and the ABC song under the direction of teacher Kathleen Moore and educational assistants Dawn Dojahn and Jan Bickford.
The Kindergarten class, directed by teacher Denise Henry and EA Joan Ree, sang a medley of ‘snowflake songs’ as that was their theme.
A power point featuring exemplars of artwork done by grades six to nine fine arts classes, with the theme “The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure”, had the music ‘This Little Light of Mine’ added.
Vivien and Domenica Schunk shared their talents on saxophone, violin, and flute by performing interludes of quiet listening music.
The main feature was the holiday musical play “A Pirate Christmas” that tried to show it is better to give, and that even pirates can have kind hearts and help out at Christmas time.
Grades one to five were involved in the accompanying singing and grades three to five fine arts students were the actors. The head pirate and the Santa Claus were outstanding, even with Santa Claus having to keep his hands on his broken belt.
The grades six to nine fine arts girls performed with hand bells before Kelsey Vig and Lexi Moore closed the official program singing “The First Noel”.
J’lyn Bickford made an emotional presentation of a beautiful bouquet of flowers to Kolybaba on behalf of the staff and students.
Staff who showed up wearing their “tacky Christmas sweaters” added to the fun of the evening.
When teacher Jason Hazlett took over as ‘auctioneer’ for the fundraising part of the evening, the staff mystery basket for adults brought in a whopping $1,000.
Another $2,055 was raised from the raffle of the Christmas gift baskets done up by each elementary classroom. Each class picked a theme like movie or games night, crafts or tea party, shopping spree or relaxation, red and green or story time, and more, and had donated items from home in them for people to buy tickets on.
The Bentley school gives back to the community in a variety of ways like Gifts for Grandparents and the Blessing Pantry.
There were way too many ‘special helpers’ behind the scenes to mention, including some of the staff and so many students who helped with costuming, supervision, sound system, stage hands, gift wrapping, sorting, set-up and take-down, vacuuming, delivering gifts to seniors, and more, and included the parents of the actors for helping get students to a Sunday night rehearsal, for helping ensure the actor’s costumes were ready, and for helping kids memorize their lines. Of course, especially noteworthy were the committed group of students who worked through their lunch hours.
“They are all so important and special to the show,” said Kolybaba.