Haley Johnston

Vocal teacher Kent Taylor directs vocal and strings students in the opening number of the annual Prism concert at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. “We’re on the Kravis Center stage, which is a lot different because it’s a whole entire auditorium,” vocal senior Carolyn Lord said. “It’s really nice to have family and friends and the school to come watch.”

For most high school students, the holiday season is marked by copious amounts of hot chocolate, candy canes, and Michael Bublé’s carols on the radio. For Dreyfoos students, the holiday season begins when the curtain rises at the annual Prism concert.

Prism took place on Wednesday, Dec. 5 in the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Students from all music departments collaborated on renditions of holiday-themed music, which they performed for all students in the morning. The traditional concert featured all music students, including collaborations from the band, vocal, and strings departments.

“I’ve done Prism all four years here at Dreyfoos,” vocal senior Diana Parra said.“I’ve gained a lot of patience; it’s an energy-draining experience, but at the same time, you’re having so much fun while doing it.”

Students put hours into after school rehearsals, lunch practices, and all-day performances in order to prepare for the show. The musicians received guidance and support from their music teachers throughout the entirety of the preparation process. However, the students themselves were responsible for composing small groups, as well as preparing auditions. The shows consists of mostly small group performances, ranging from quartets of instruments to vocal duets to jazz combos. Each group consisted of anywhere from two to 20 students.

“Each department has different songs that the individual classes perform, and then we also audition lots of small groups,” vocal teacher Kent Taylor said. “If a student-led group wants to put something together to perform, they can audition it. We all sit on a panel and listen to it and determine who’s good enough to actually be in the show. We work with them, but they’re all groups that are put together by the students and rehearsed by the students.”

The music department performed renditions of classic holiday songs, with performances both in small groups and full classes. Vocal majors sang “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” with choreography and a piano performance. The band department performed “Dreidel Dance,” as well as “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” along with the vocal quartet. All music departments joined together to play “Jingle Bells” as the final component of the concert.

“We start working a month and a half before,” vocal senior Carolyn Lord said. “There’s choreography, [and] there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. [There are] after school rehearsals for hours [and] all day rehearsals. It’s a lot of preparation, but it does pay off.”

Music students put in hours of practice in order to accurately display the talent, collaboration, and dedication that lives within the music department. Up until 2010, the showcase was performed in Meyer Hall. However, upon visiting the performance with his wife, best-selling author James Patterson decided to underwrite the performance so future shows could be haled at the Kravis Center. Students now have the annual opportunity to fill the Kravis Center with holiday melodies.

“I think just seeing it all come together and being able to perform in such a great venue like the Kravis Center is just outstanding,” Mr. Taylor said. “Putting it all together, our performances here are great. But when you go to the Kravis Center, it feels more professional. We’re working with professional lights and sound and all that. It just feels like the big time.”

What Taylor describes as “the big time” is the culmination of collaboration from students throughout Building 7. Prism would not be possible without the dedication and passion of the music department as a whole.

“There’s a lot of organization to it,” Parra said. “I’m very surprised that it flows so quickly; I think it’s because we’re very attentive and we’re all doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Prism is a really exciting time of the year because everybody loves Christmas music and it’s one of the few times that we actually do get to work with the orchestra and the band. It’s a very unique type of collaboration that we do, [which] we don’t get to see very often.”