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Building a new Heritage Hall holiday tradition

Johnson County Middle School and High School combined chorus performed Saturday night at Heritage Hall. Photo by Bethany Anderson

By Bethany Anderson

The Johnson County Middle and High School Band Programs and Choir are no strangers to the annual Christmas Concert. But thanks to last week’s performance on the Heritage Hall stage in Mountain City has begun a new tradition for the young artists.
While the crowd was mostly family, friends, and faculty,
that gathered for the two-day event on Thursday and Friday evening (Dec. 6, 7) the students seemed excited and milled about happily as they greeted the arriving
guests.
The concert started promptly with the Beginning Band Program, which included 7th and 8th graders from Johnson County Middle School, followed by the Concert Band Program that included 8th and 9th graders. Band director Kaitlyn Cole, who without a doubt is much loved by her students, leads both programs.
The band boasts of some recognition after participating in the Appalachian Band Classic earlier this year at Sullivan Central High School where it received several second place awards in Music,
General Effect, Color Guard, Percussion, Drum Major, and Band in Class A1.
Friday, December 7 was the Choir’s turn to take the stage at Heritage Hall for their annual “Winter Spectacular.” Led by Director Nathan Jones and accompanied by Alissa King on piano, the choirs put on quite a show for their families, friends, and others who attended for the evening.
The lineup began with the Combined Choruses, then Johnson County Middle School Choir featuring soloist, Elijah Haynes; followed by Vocal Intensity who was accompanied by Johnson County
High School Choir for their a cappella performance of “Carol of the Bells.”
The Johnson County High School Choir performed a selection of three songs, and then the concert was closed with the Combined Choruses taking the stage for two more final selections, featuring soloists Connor Long and AJ Reece.
After the performance, Choir Director Nathan Jones, emphasized just how much it meant to him for the students to perform in such a space as Heritage Hall.
“It just means so much that the kids get to experience this in a professional setting,” said Jones. “Here we have professional lighting, professional sound equipment, and such a really beautiful theater. At our school we don’t even have a real auditorium for them, so it’s just so great for them to have such an opportunity.”
Randy Dandurand, House Manager of Heritage Hall, couldn’t agree more, when he said, “We are thrilled to be able to provide these young people with the experience of performing in such a great space like Heritage Hall. Hopefully it will help inspire them.”
As an added boost, Heritage Hall has already extended and confirmed the invite to Johnson County Middle School and High School for next year’s Holiday performances as well.
So, it would seem a new town tradition for local student performers and their families has begun.
More information about Heritage Hall can be found on their website at heritagehalltheatre.org
Student Holiday Concerts at Heritage Hall