Griswold music summer program presents concert

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Jul. 8, 2013
Julia and Sarah, both sixth-graders, enjoy the annual summer concert.
Julia and Sarah, both sixth-graders, enjoy the annual summer concert.

While school has been out for just a week, summer vacation was given its official kick-off at the Griswold High School auditorium on July 3 with the concluding concert of the district’s annual summer band camp. An hour’s worth of sun-and-fun music, patriotic melodies and creative hijinks sent middle school and high school musicians and their families out into the July heat ready to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The music camp was truncated from its usual two weeks to one, due to the late dismissal date this year, said music teacher Kathy Bocciarelli. But that didn’t show in the performances. This year’s theme was water, so the program included renditions of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Purple Rain,” “Surfin’ USA” and the theme from “Titanic,” among many others. Vocal ensembles performed “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” and the national anthem.

Bocciarelli said that about 120 students participated in this year’s program, which is open to new and current student musicians from grades 6 through 12. The program is divided into “little kids’ band” of middle school students and “big kids’ band,” students in high school and older. Many alumni also return each summer to play with the ensemble, she said.

As always, high school music teacher Ray Churchill dressed in a theme-related costume. This year’s was a pirate get-up, which he wore to lead the band and the audience in a rousing rendition of the "SpongeBob SquarePants" theme song. As a menacing counterpoint to the lighthearted fun, the band periodically launched into the opening bars of the “Jaws” movie theme, as a student chased Churchill around the auditorium with a bucket of “water,” which turned out to be confetti. When the real water appeared, the music teacher it doused was Lou Bocciarelli – who then summoned a small “strike force” of musicians carrying water guns to soak Churchill.

And in another long-standing tradition, the program ended with a string of patriotic melodies, including the Navy hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” and the final section of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 overture,” as well as a grand finale of waving flags and falling red, white and blue balloons.

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