Happy chatter filled Lyman Hall Elementary’s gymnasium Friday as rows of mini Santas stood before a sea of smiling parents just one day ahead of the Liberty County School System’s winter break.
Principal Claire Blanchard, standing in front of banner heralding the school’s “A Teddy Bear Christmas” program, told the spirited crowd, “We’re in for a treat today.”
For 30 minutes, the kindergarten and first-grade students, sporting Santa hats, belted out songs about celebrating the season with loved ones and the goodies they hope to get from Santa on Christmas morning, all the while shimmying in place and swaying from side to side.
Wade Taylor, who led the production, is the school’s music teacher and was selected as Lyman Hall’s 2011-12 Teacher of the Year by his peers.
As music filled the room, students stood at attention, eyes focused on Taylor, who pantomimed the moves the children mimicked.
Jasmine Barnes, 5, said she loves everything about Christmas and her favorite part of the play was “when we sang about Santa Claus!”
Her absolute favorite part about Christmas?
“When you get lots of toys,” she said with a smile. “And when Santa Claus comes with reindeers.”
As familiar Christmas tunes boomed from the speakers, students clapped, smiled, bobbed their heads and bounced around, their voices floating up to the gym’s high ceiling beams.
In between numbers, they whispered to friends and laughed loudly.
“I thought it was really cool. I think the kids really enjoyed it,” parent Aguilla Acosta said. “He [Mr. Taylor] made the Christmas music come alive.”
Acosta’s daughter, Aliana, 5, sang and danced with the rest of her kindergarten class in front of the entire school and about 100 parents.
“I thought it was beautiful, they definitely invest in the music program in the school,” Acosta said.
After the younger children’s 30-minute song and dance routine, the rest of the school’s students prepared for their turn to shine and sing.
With song sheets in hand, the classes sat cross-legged on the floor and sang Christmas classics, such as “Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” as parents and staff joined in.
“Everybody so enjoys the holiday season,” said Taylor, who puts on a concert with all grade levels. “The kids really get into the Christmas production.”