On Monday night, family, friends and fans alike flocked to the Missouri Theatre for the Missouri Symphony Conservatory Winter Concert.
The theater itself was decorated for the holiday season, adding a holiday atmosphere to the grandeur for which the Missouri Theatre is known.
Michael Straw, husband of Children’s Chorus conductor Melissa Straw, began the evening by welcoming the audience to a celebration of the culmination of a busy year.
“All be alive, and be of good cheer!” Michael Straw said.
First were the Junior Strings, comprised of young musicians in third through eighth grades who are at the beginning or intermediate levels as string or wind players. Conductor Kirk Trevor and assistant conductor Grant Bradshaw direct these students and the Chamber Players.
The Junior Strings performed a variety of music for the audience, showcasing the musicians' talent with an array of song choices. They began with "Norwegian Dance No. 2" and "Symphony No. 1—Third Movement." “Pacem Noel” and “Finlandia” followed these pieces.
After the Junior Strings came the Chamber Players. These musicians were a bit older, with kids in eighth through 12th grades who have been introduced to more advanced pieces.
The Chamber Players also performed four songs, starting with “Symphony No. 60 Il Distratto,” followed by “Superman Returns,” “The Christmas Song” and “Four Rondos for Orchestra.”
The Children’s Chorus, with singers in sixth through ninth grades, took the stage last. These students are required to participate in their schools' choirs as well, allowing them to have a dedicated musical experience.
The voices of the Children’s Chorus rang throughout the theater to conclude the night. The chorus is conducted by Melissa Straw and accompanied on the piano by Grace Lyden.
The chorus performed six numbers: “A Jubilant Gloria,” “A Cuckoo Flew Out of the Woods,” “Christmas Toys on Parade,” “Gesu Bambino,” “Hanukah Nagilah” and “Go Where I Send Thee!”
Cailyn Gilmore, 12, said she performed in the concert for the first time this year.
“My favorite part is just the sound of it,” Gilmore said. “It’s so cool when it comes together.”
Her friend Laura Heaston, 12, said she also participated for the first time Sunday.
“I like the challenge,” Heaston said.
Jenna Lea Heaston, 13, is Laura’s sister and has been performing in the concert for three years. The two girls laughed, talking about how well performing with each other is going.
“It’s whatever,” Jenna said, laughing some more.
A multitude of people put the concert together, said Michael Straw, who sang baritone for a song with the Children’s Chorus and introduced each group.
“(The group) meanders its way through the Symphony Society and conductors,” Michael Straw said. “Many others are involved in the production.”
The Christmas season is always one of the busiest, Michael Straw said. Last year he was involved in 30 concerts in 25 days.
“It’s pretty typical for musicians,” he said.