The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Noblesville East Middle School Show Choir members wear ugly Christmas sweaters and sing Christmas carols at Harbour Manor Care Center in Noblesville during a show choir field trip on Thursday that included a performance at Christmas at the Zoo.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Noblesville East Middle School Show Choir members wear ugly Christmas sweaters and sing Christmas carols at Harbour Manor Care Center in Noblesville during a show choir field trip on Thursday that included a performance at Christmas at the Zoo.
I’m proud to say that I’m a parent of a Noblesville East Middle School show choir and band student.
There have been a lot of us proud Noblesville band and choir parents in the audience recently as we watched our children perform at various winter events over the few weeks.
This fall, we have enjoyed NEMS band concerts, featuring students in band class to the different groups that include 16th Street Groove, Jazz Band and also Pep Band performances during basketball games. The bands also enjoyed caroling through the halls with their instruments before school was out for winter break.
We are fortunate to have a great band director in Betheny Heinz-Hanlin, who we also went to see perform at the inaugural Hamilton County Community Band Holiday Concert in December.
Most recently, I chaperoned a show choir field trip that had its members donning ugly Christmas sweaters and singing two sets of holiday songs to residents of Harbor Manor Care Center and then next door to The Lodge assisted-living facility. We followed with a trek downtown Indianapolis to perform another set at Christmas at the Zoo, now celebrating 50 years. After their performance, show choir members and their families had the opportunity to visit Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, along with penguins, tigers, sharks, reptiles and sleeping orangutans.
The week earlier, we watched the NEMS choirs perform their winter concert at Noblesville High School, where there were two shows, the first featuring sixth-grade choir, followed by Vocal Revolution seventh- and eighth-grade show choir; and the second performance an hour later featuring seventh- and eighth-grade choirs. Dressed in khaki pants and black short-sleeve choir polos, the choir classes sang everything from “Sparklejollytwinklejingley,” “Christmas Chopsticks” and  Jingle Bells, Merry Christmas to All (JBMCA) a high-energy rendition of “Jingle Bells,” to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas (and All that Jazz).
My daughter is in NEMS’s show choir, Vocal Revolution, whose members dressed in jeans and ugly sweaters to sing “Run, Rudolph, Run!,” with choreography by Devyn Palmer, NHS senior and a cadet teacher for NEMS choir teacher Jordan Rattenbury. They also sang “Mary, Did You Know,” featuring soloists Christian Harris and Anna Neal.
As parents, we are fortunate to have Ms. Rattenbury as our choir director and drama teacher, who also directed NEMS’s fall musical, “Mary Poppins Jr.”
We know that when our kids move on to NHS, they will be well prepared for any of the high school choral groups.
And there are a lot of choral groups to choose from at NHS. We discovered the eight ensembles during this year’s NHS Holiday Choir Festival earlier this month, when each group performed an array of holiday selections. 
The eight choirs include Momentum, Milltones and Cantemos (all-female concert choirs), Milltonez (all-new male show choir), MadJazz (advanced mixed choir that performs madrigal and jazz compositions), Sensation (all-female junior varsity show choir), New Dimension (premiere women’s show choir) and NHS Singers (one of the oldest mixed show choirs in the state, representing Noblesville for more than 40 years). There were also marvelous soloists, Elissa Maudlin, Cameron Englert, Kari Verdeyen, Laura Wertz and Aubrey Broisma, plus a quartet and a duet.
We heard selections from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to “Winter Wonderland” and “O’ Holy Night.”
At the end of the festival, they invited past show choir members to come up to the stage and sing “Silent Night.” And what a marvelous moment that was for all. Thank you, choir director John Neubauer and assistant choir director Kelsey Maxwell for your passion in teaching our children. And thank you to NHS music department chair Eric Thornbury, guitar and music technology teacher Jay Jasper, show choir band director Bethany Robinson and assistant band director Alex Keim.
If you want to hear NHS choral ensembles firsthand, then mark your calendars for 7 p.m. Jan. 24, when the groups will perform a show choir preview concert of the Jan. 26 Fishers Spotlight Show Choir Invitational.
The elementaries have great music programs, too. Thank you to our music teachers who lead choirs and musical events and, at North Elementary, to Mrs. Janene Krent, for our hand chimes choir, where my daughter became passionate about music. Now she’s in band, pep band, show choir, piano lessons of two years, guitar lessons, performs in musical drama productions, and loves to sing.
We know that not every public school district in the nation has such wonderful music programs as Noblesville. We are so fortunate.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com