12/4/2012 2:31:00 PM Final weeks of fine tuning at Grand Canyon School
From foreground, Zach Tacey plays the cello, Josephina Legaspi plays bass clarinet, John Morfin rests on his baritone, and Alex Thompson and Nathan Lenz wait for their cue on tenor sax. Clara Beard/WGCN
GCS music teacher Bentley Monk leads the high school band in preparation for their upcoming Winter Concert Dec. 13. Clara Beard/WGCN
Grand Canyon School music students are preparing to put the holidays to music with two concerts in the works for the community to enjoy.
Tomorrow at 6 p.m., kindergarten through fifth grade students will take center stage at the Mather Point Visitor Center singing traditional carols with clever Grand Canyon variations.
"This year, instead of the kids reading the lyrics, we are going to try and have them memorize them," GCS music teacher Bentley Monk said. "Also, the words will be on a screen behind them so the community can sing along as well. So it will be more like a community sing-a-long."
During the event, Monk will play the guitar, accompany the choir and direct at the same time.
On Dec. 13 at Tusayan's Grand Canyon Dinner Theatre, GCS music students plan to delight their audience with a variety of performances, from recorder choirs to piano soloists and band ensembles, starting at 6 p.m..
"It will be a big time deal and it'll be something for people to get involved in," Monk said. "The community should come out and support the Phantom band because these kids have been working really hard and they need the support."
Students have been practicing these pieces since the beginning of the semester in preparation.
"They've sort of let me take them and mold them like a piece of clay," Monk said about the high school band, who recently started tackling a set of complex Christmas spiritual pieces for the occasion. "I took the skills that they already had and just reinforced them. At the same time I let them understand, just by their ears, that they can do more than what they've been told before. We've been doing a lot of experimentation with just playing and building chords and harmony, doing stuff that they didn't know could even be done in a band and now that's all they want to do is play really complex stuff."