Hundreds of Colorado Springs’ talented young musicians will serenade the community with six nights of performances beginning Dec. 8 in Widefield School District 3.
Winterfest, a decades-long staple, ushers in the holiday season with student choirs, orchestras, actors and more.
Mesa Ridge and Widefield high schools promise “music and drama from around the world” as students tackle traditional Christmas favorites while branching into Hanukkah and winter-themed pieces.
District music coordinator Jack Seltenright said the high schools took care in preparing a lineup that’s inclusive of all religions and backgrounds, considering the history behind each song they perform.
“We try to pick lots of women composers and people of different ethnic identities,” Seltenright said. “Not just old, dead white guys.”
Widefield High School will also host a craft fair and raffle for concertgoers to peruse and potentially walk away with swag donated by businesses.
Preparation for the event, which Widefield High School’s director of orchestras Sara Miller describes as “a big holiday festival,” began back in September for some teachers as they sorted out such logistics as who goes first and what pieces they will perform. For students, it serves as the culmination of semester spent growing in their craft.
Widefield High School’s drama production team will join in on the fun with a different one-act scene each night written and performed by the students.
“It’s a big undertaking,” Miller said. “It really shows how much work and energy and effort they’ve put in this semester.”
Widefield District 3 has a reputation of producing high-achieving musicians.
Between Widefield and Mesa Ridge high schools just this year, seven students were selected to be in the Colorado All State Choir; five students were selected for the front stand in the Pikes Peak Honors Orchestra; the Widefield High School Varsity Women’s Choir was selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference; and The Pride of Mesa Ridge Marching Band finished its season in seventh place at the Colorado Bandmasters Association Finals Performance.
The student performers will take to the stage at their respective high school auditoriums for a series of roughly two-hour concerts beginning 7 p.m. each night.
In addition to sparking festive cheer, the concert series will raise money to support District 3 students in the classroom. Admission to the Mesa Ridge High School performances, held on Dec. 8, 13 and 15, will cost $3 per person. For the Widefield High School shows on Dec. 9, 12 and 14, the school will charge adults $5 and children $3 with a cap at $20 per immediate family per night.
The events typically draw 200 to 300 people per concert, Seltenright said.
“I truly believe that Widefield has such a supportive community for the arts,” Miller said. “We have such a high level of performance at Widefield High School that the kids gravitate towards that. They want to be part of something really strong and amazing … why would you not want to join us because we have such a rich tradition of performance?”