Baldwin Elementary students perform Christmas concert

BALDWIN — Many of Baldwin Elementary School's students brought the Christmas spirit to Lake County with a festive concert that took place on Dec. 18.

The show featured students from kindergarten to the sixth grade performing a variety of vocal and instrumental music. The concert was arranged by music teacher Julie Sherlock.

"We had our Ajani drumming ensemble playing, we had kids playing mallet instruments like the xylophone, we had our fourth graders playing ukulele and the fifth graders on the recorder," said Sherlock. "The second and third graders ended the concert with 'We Wish you a Merry Christmas,' with some great choreography."

Additionally, there was also a kindergarten and first grade group singing with a choreographed component, a performance by the fourth through sixth grade honors choir and Sherlock's response to intervention reading class performing a musical skit called "I Want a Kitty for a Present."

"It was fantastic," said Sherlock. "What really helped at this year's show was I have a friend named Jeremy Ver Strat who owns a sound production company called IOS Entertainment, and he ran sound for the concert. It really helped project the sound of the kids' voices in the gym."

The concert went smoothly, but preparing for it wasn't without its challenges. The students had been practicing for the show since the beginning of November to perfect their pieces; and Sherlock said teaching dozens of students to perform was challenging enough without the logistics that come with putting on a large show.

"The biggest challenge were the transitions," explained Sherlock. "Getting the kids on and off the stage with their instruments and doing quickly and quietly can be difficult. Fortunately, there were other staff members there who helped with that part of the show. Once you have the transitions and sound taken care of, the rest of the concert is just fun to be a part of."

The audience applauded the kids enthusiastically, and the children themselves thought it was a job well done.

"The day after the concert, I always have the kids do a self-evaluation," said Sherlock. "This time they all were saying they loved the pieces we picked and they were very proud of how well they did. That's the great thing about teaching music to kids is you can really help them build confidence."

Earlier in the week, the drumming ensemble and honors choir performed at the St. Ann's Community Center and the Great Oaks Senior Center.

"Mrs. Sherlock's band was fantastic," said activities director Christine Engels. "The residents really enjoyed their performance. Their band was amazing!"

Next up for Sherlock's classes will be a performance by the drumming ensemble and honors choir for the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner on Sunday, Jan. 18.

"I really hope people get to see these kids perform out in the community," remarked Sherlock. "They work very hard and there's few things better for a child than getting a chance to interact with people in this way."