The gymnasium of Macdonough Elementary School was standing room only Tuesday morning as hundreds of festively-dressed students, teachers, parents and staff filed in for the annual holiday musical celebration in Middletown's North End.
After Principal Jon Romeo introduced the performers, the winter concert in moved briskly along. The Macdonough Band played four arrangements, "Jingle Bells, "Good King Wenceslas," "Dreydl Dreydl," and "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" and the younger children sang two selections and the upper grades three — a mix of Christmas, Hannuakah and secular compositions.
The event had its share of unscripted moments.
When first-graders began singing “We Will Jingle” to the music of Queen’s iconic stomp-clap anthem, “We Will Rock You,” the crowd perked up — as did the students. Then the musical accompaniment faltered as the DVD player skipped a syncopated beat over and again.
After a moment’s confusion, music teacher Farah DeAngelis urged the kids to begin the song again, this time in a cappella. The audience rallied, clapping and singing, as the first-graders bopped and swung their heads along to the beat.
After the fourth-graders sang “Winter in America” to the tune of James Brown’s rousing “Living in America,” it was sing-along time as "Frosty the Snowman" began to play during intermission. All of a sudden, a large white figure with a carrot nose ran in through a side door and started handing out books to lucky kids and generating a buzz of excitement.
Grade five took the stage to sing three songs, "Jingle Bell Jammin'," "Winter Joy" and "One More Candle" and as they filed off, three colorful characters — red, white and blue — ran into the gymnasium to the delight of children: Santa Claus, Frosty making an encore, and Dreidel.
It was a fitting end to a wonderful morning.