Belmont is starting to sound a lot like Christmas.
The school’s musical departments are already ringing with the jingle of the holiday season in preparation for a West Shore tradition with more than 50 annual performances behind it.
“Every year when we come to our Winter Concert, it is a big celebration of everything we have worked towards,” said music director Mandart Chan. “It boils down to our seven performance ensembles.”
A director at the school for four years, he is confident the 120 students performing everything from classic motown hits, contemporary jazz and even a classic circus march from the 1800’s and a handful of originals will be well worth the price of admission and the proof is in the familiar faces.
“We have quite a few of ex-Belmont parent that come back year after year,” Chan said. “Their children have graduated eons ago, (but) they keep coming back because they know (what) they are going to get.”
Two-time Winter Concert performer Melissa Thomson brings her alto saxophone to her third and final appearance in her graduating year — and feels the burden of mixed emotions her final time out.
“It is really fun and a great way to kick off the season … It is going to be a great experience,” the Grade 12 student said. “I might cry at the end of the year concert but I am pretty excited for the Winter Concert.”
The performers fill the school’s south gymnasium with music, Dec 6 at 7 p.m. — and bass clarinet player Katie Gray is excited about making her second appearance in one of the biggest musical nights of her year.
“Music is one of my passions and it is a lot of fun. Everyone is friendly and awesome and everyone enjoys what we do,” said the Grade 11 student. “I think it is all about sharing everything important, both with the people you like to be with and the people you love.”
That relationship is something Chan relishes year after year and is still a big part in why he looks forward to this performance every winter.
“The best part is seeing the faces of the students and their parents after the concert. After the lights go up you can see all these smiling faces going wow I can’t believe we just did that,” he said. “We have been working everything for the last four months for this one night.”
Admission is by donation with all proceeds going back into the Belmont music program. Non-perishable food donations will also be accepted on behalf of the Goldstream Food Bank.