Butterfield-Odin Public School held their holiday band and choir concert December 2, and--in a rare occurrence--the community joined with the students for a sing-along at the finale of the show. “We may have to make that an annual event,” said Band Director Dave Stordalen. “You're never more together than when you sing as one.” Caley Danielson, director of choirs, called it “a really cool and fun sing-along,” and said, “It was a nice note to end on.” Stordalen added that he was worried the concert would be too early in December to generate the proper amount of Christmas spirit; after all, it took place on the Monday after Thanksgiving. But, his concerns proved to be unfounded. “It was a great atmosphere, and the audience was warm and welcoming,” he said. “The staff did lots of work to put up decorations, and the administration gave us the whole day to prepare.” Though he'd been pleased with their work in practice, Stordalen said one can never be sure how adroitly the band will perform until it's really showtime. “You can't conceptualize it in practice, and it doesn't become real until we do the live performance,” he said. “You can talk about it, but in dress rehearsal, they realize, 'Oh, wow,' and it's real for them.” “It's scary, because it's last minute, but it culminates,” he continued. “We got that energy we'd been waiting for.” Though he was hesitant to put a song like “Amazing Grace,” on the set list, because “it's always dangerous to do something that well-known,” he ultimately decided to use the song, and he was glad he did. “The junior high band did really remarkably, and they had to work really hard on it,” he said. “They should be very proud of that performance.” For one of their highlights, the senior high band put a new twist on “We Three Kings,” and Stordalen said the reception was positive. “Lots of people remarked that they hadn't heard that song done that way and liked it.” Earlier this semester, Stordalen said his top priority was getting the band to play together into a homogenized sound, and he said they made strides toward that goal with this latest concert. “We definitely did better, blend, balance, and listening to each other,” he said. “It takes awhile to grow into all the aspects of performance that I want them to do.” Aside from the sing-along, Danielson said another unique aspect of this year's concert was having the fifth and sixth grade choir sing. In the past, the band had been grades 5-12, but the choir had only been grades 7-12. She added that the favorite number students heard at the concert, from what they've told her, was “Carol of the Bell,” a popular carol based on a Ukrainian folk chant. “A lot of kids really liked it, and it was a cappella, so it was tough.” Another song that “went over really well” was “Baby, It's Cold Outside,” she said. “That's a perennial favorite.” Danielson said one of her main points of emphasis with the choir has been facial expressions, and she felt they improved at this concert. “I got a lot of compliments from people, but I still think they could do more--they can never be too expressive, as far as I'm concerned,” she said. “They were a lot more confident than the first concert; that last concert was a reassuring ego-boost for them.” Overall, she was pleased with the progress of her singers. “Their technique is improving, and they're listening to each other more,” she said. “They impressed me every step of the way this time.”