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Marion High School hosts Holiday Extravaganza

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ALL TOGETHER NOW:Students in the combined mass choirs of Marion High School sing "Remembering Decembers" with Director of Choirs Bryce Conway conducting in the MHS Holiday Extravaganza Wednesday night.
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STUDENTS IN HARMONY: Marion High School students in the Innovations choir group perform "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at the MHS Holiday Extravaganza Wednesday night.
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HOLIDAY CHEER:Students in the Marion High School Jazz Band play "Sleigh Ride" in the MHS Holiday Extravaganza concert on Wednesday night.

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

Nearly 300 students at Marion High School performed in the choirs' and bands' joint concert on Wednesday night in the Walton Performing Arts Center.

Organized and conducted by Director of Choirs Bryce Conway and Director of Bands Joshua Huff, the event featured renditions of classics such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" alongside the more modern "Text Me Merry Christmas" and "A Christmas Flourish."

According to Huff, the school has hosted the annual concert for at least 15 years. The middle school will have combined musical events in March, he said, but this Christmastime show is the only performance that combines all the choir and band students in the high school.

Conway expressed that students in various choirs and bands often don't see what the others are working on, since they're all in classes at the same time. This event brings them together to collaborate as well as appreciate what their peers are doing.

"[The students] get a chance to work together, band and choir, and also get to see and hear each other, as well," he said. "See what people are doing across the hall — it's good for them to do that."

The concert began with the various choirs, followed by the bands, before all the students came together and invited the audience to join in for some traditional Christmas carols.

The night opened with a performance by the Innovations choir of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Conway noted before the students began that this was a difficult piece which they only had seven days to learn, after being in the high school musical as required for a class.

A piece performed by the Marionettes choir, "Text Me Merry Christmas," Conway discovered last year and set aside to perform this year. He believes the song, a light pop tune about texting a loved one on Christmas Day, captures the holiday spirit of the modern generation.

The evening was well-attended with family and friends of performing students. Huff and Conway looked forward to sending attendees home with cheerful holiday spirits.

"I just hope everybody enjoys it and has a happy holidays," Conway said. "Hopefully this puts them in the right mood."