By Debbie Adams
No matter whether it’s a fall, winter, or spring concert, Susan Lewis Music Studio students always deliver a great performance. That was the case when they presented their annual Christmas performance for the residents of Elm Park Estates Retirement Home on December 21– with much toe tapping and clapping among members of audience.
Over 30 piano and voice students spent a Saturday morning sharing their instrumental and vocal talents with residents of the home, delivering some Christmas cheer.
“Bringing our program to Elm Park is one way we can give back to the community,” Susan Lewis said. “The residents look so forward to us returning year after year. How exciting it was to have a full house which added to the enthusiasm from the audience.”
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.
Twenty students performed a variety of holiday tunes on the piano: Deon Staunton (Chimes at Christmas), Nolan Ferguson (Good King Wenceslas), Carlyle Cieraszynski (Our Snowman), Nathan Gray (O Come, All Ye Faithful), Rylee Warren (Away in a Manger), Carter Gray (We Wish You a Merry Christmas), Liam Cieraszynski (We Three Kings of Orient Are), Lily Sealey (Frosty the Snowman), Colter Dean (Go Tell It on the Mountain), Scottie Leonard (Up on the Housetop), Abby Booth (Carol of the Bells), Landon Hodges (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), Beth Warren (Silent Night), Chloe Hopkins (Believe, from the “Polar Express”), Niki Dean (Do You Hear What I Hear?). Andrea Gonzalez (O Holy Night), Chelie Plaster (Angels We Have Heard on High), Madison Saunders (What Child is This?), Allie Watson (The Christmas Medley), and Zach Baldwin (Joy to the World).
“Zach Baldwin wowed the crowd with his own arrangement of ‘Joy to The World,’” Lewis noted.
Ten students performed vocal solos: Skylar Thompson (When Christmas Comes to Town from the “Polar Express”), Jayda Baldwin (A Holly Jolly Christmas), Ryleigh Woolwine (Nuttin’ for Christmas), Emily Mower (Once Upon a December from “Anastasia”), Sofia Gonzalez (It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas), McKinley FiGart (Underneath the Tree), Kelly Ronan (Little White Church), Oliver Sealey (White Christmas), Tes Smith (All I Want for Christmas is You), and B.J. Armes (Mary Did You Know?).
Lewis accompanied several of the vocalists on the piano.
Students Kathryn Dodson, Kendall Dodson, Elizabeth Becker, and Latriva Pierce had prepared to perform but were unable to attend.
“Students from kindergarten through adults performed, including my four seniors and two college students, three of whom I am preparing to major in music,” said Lewis. Those students planning professional music careers are college student Tes Smith, and high school seniors Oliver Sealey and B.J. Armes.
Young Deon Staunton was up first on the program and had taken only a handful of lessons before performing with great poise for the Elm Park residents.
Lewis praised her adult students– Beth Warren, Niki Dean, and Kelly Ronan– for their participation, saying she was inspired by their willingness to perform for the Elm Park residents although they are not required to participate in recitals.
“It is so thrilling to encourage and have several of my adult students decide to participate and share their talents,” Lewis commented. “Hopefully this will inspire other adults to pursue their passion for either starting or resuming piano or voice lessons.”
Lewis commended all of her students for their bravery in performing before the audience at Elm Park Estates, especially those who are not planning on a career in music. In addition, she thanked student B.J. Armes who “did a wonderful job running the sound system for me.”
This marked the fourth year the Susan Lewis Music Studio students have performed at Elm Park during the Christmas season.
Susan Lewis has been teaching music in the Roanoke Valley since 1990.