By Debbie Adams
Vocal and piano students from the Susan Lewis Music Studio presented their annual Christmas performance for the residents of Elm Park Estates Retirement Home on December 12.
Teacher Susan Lewis says this Christmas performance is one way to give back to the community.
“Being able to bring Christmas cheer to the residents of Elm Park Estates Retirement Home again this year was so rewarding,” said Lewis. “The joy and happiness on their faces as they watched piano and voice students (from pre-school through high school seniors, as well as several college and adult students) sharing some of their favorite Christmas songs was priceless!
“At the end, they were thanking parents, students, and myself for coming and were obviously extremely blessed and appreciative for us bringing our Christmas concert to them,” she commented. “The energy and enthusiasm from the crowd in their beautiful dining room (with standing room only) was so inspiring to the students,” Lewis said. “From my newest beginners to the well-seasoned performers, I couldn’t have been more pleased with each and every student!”
Many of her students take both piano and voice lessons, but for this event they were asked to choose to perform one or the other.
Piano students and their holiday selections included:
- Nolan Cranwell performing “Christmas Parade”
- Ben Gasink, “Toy Soldier March”
- Addy McClennan, “Away in a Manger”
- J. McClennan, “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings”
- Jackson Morris, “Over the River and Through the Woods”
- Addi Thiel, “Jingle Bells”
- Mario Villarreal, “Frosty the Snowman”
- Josue Smales, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
- Abigail Harvey, “Home for the Holidays”
- Mara Roche, “Up on the Housetop”
- John Hart, “Silver Bells”
- Deon Staunton, “The Little Drummer Boy”
- Nolan Ferguson, “Angels We Have Heard on High”
- Lilla Clark, “The Chipmunk Song”
- Philip Saben, “12 Days of Christmas”
- Lucy Sealey, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”
- Enna Schofield, ‘Winter Wonderland”
- Abby Booth, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
- Kendall Dodson, “Deck the Halls”
- John Saben, “Christmas Time is Here”
- David Saben, “Foom, Foom, Foom!”
- Lily Sealey, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
- Colter Dean, “Carol of the Bells”
- Cary Jones, “Hallelujah Chorus” (from Handel’s Messiah)
- Sydney Thomas, “What Child is This”
- Chloe Hopkins, “Christmas in Heaven”
- Henry Saben, “Maybe” (Yiruma)
- April Joachim, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
- Latriva Pierce, “Ancient Stones”
Vocal soloists (several accompanied by Lewis) included:
- Kylee Elmore singing “10 Little Elves”
- Aniya Smith, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
- Skylar Thompson, “Run, Run, Rudolph”
- Ryleigh Woolwine, ‘Light of the World”
- Brent Saunders, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” (accompanied by Trey Saunders on guitar)
- Sofia Gonzalez, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
- Trey Saunders, “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy” (with guitar)
- Lexi Williamson, “Make Believe,” (original composition, accompanied herself on piano)
- Paul Sealey, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”
- Kelly Ronan, “I’m a Believer,” (The Monkees), dedicated to her parents on the occasion of their anniversary
- Amanda Morris, “Revelation Song”
- Gary Feazelle, “It is Well with My Soul”
- Madison Saunders, “O Holy Night”
- Simon Sealey, “Jingle Bell Rock”
- Tes Smith, “Mary, Did You Know?”
- Abby Shelton, “Ave Maria” (Bach,Gounod)
“One dear lady asked, ‘Do you teach ALL of these students?’ and I said, ‘Yes, Ma’am I sure do, and as a matter of fact there are quite a few more who were unable to attend today for various reasons/conflicts this time of year. In addition, I have several other adult students who do not choose to perform.
“I am blessed to be teaching more students than I ever have. There were 61 students listed in the program who diligently prepared their pieces, but in the end nearly 50 of those performed, with those missing due to being out of town, illness, date conflicts, etc. My heart was heavy for those who dearly wanted to be there, but last-minute issues prevented them from participating.
“I just have to mention, too, that I have been thankful for having more homeschool students/families recently to add into my teaching schedule. To mention a couple of families– I have recently added a family of five boys, the Saben family, and have a family whom I currently teach four of their family members, the Sealey family. A fifth member, Oliver Sealey, is a former student who is currently a music major at ODU’s Diehn School of Music. I have literally lost count of my numerous former students who have majored in music, many pursuing careers in music as professional performers, school music teachers, choir directors, church musicians, etc.”
Lewis has been teaching music in the Roanoke Valley since 1990. Her students are well-known in the Vinton community for their outstanding performances not only at their concerts and recitals, but at Fall Festival, in the Bland Music Scholarship Competition, and this year at the town’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 2.