Wednesday, April 28, 2021



A high school choir dances the ballet at Christmas, and everyone sings hallelujah!


The Hallelujah Chorus meets The Nutcracker at Head of the Class Middle School. Forte Piper, the school’s choirmaster, pops candy canes in the mouth of any student who complains about dancing the ballet as part of the chorus’ annual performance. When the students plot against their teacher to save themselves from public humiliation at the holiday concert, they temporarily save their reputations until Mr. Piper vows to make them dance the ballet at next year’s performance.


This year is about to be different at Head of the Class Middle School in Hoboken, New Jersey. Choirmaster Forte Piper is combining singing with ballet in the annual Christmas concert. Breaking new ground, he’s planning The Hallelujah Chorus meets The Nutcracker. Mr. Piper is famous for popping candy canes into the mouths of students if they are caught talking in the middle of choir practice. He keeps a handful of candy canes with him at all times, ready for anyone babbling. In case he needs to pull someone off stage, he uses a shepherd’s crook, which looks like a huge candy cane. During the first choir practice of the year, the students in the choir are in stupendous fright at the thought of the entire school seeing them embarrass themselves in a ballet-chorus routine. Drummer Harp, Griff Gig, Mandolin Sonatina, and Seraphine Viola each got candy canes popped in their mouths for complaining to Mr. Piper. Griff’s candy cane accidentally went into his nose first. Despite their complaints to Mr. Piper, he says they are starting their first vocal-ballet practice the next day. He asks them to come prepared with a tutu. 


In attempt to protect their reputations, the four soloists pass the word to the rest of the chorus members to go along with Mr. Piper’s choir practice until the December 14th performance night. Almost every day, Mr. Piper charges the students to do pirouettes, and the students wish they had signed up for band or orchestra, where they could practice musical talent. Finally, when performance night arrives, Mr. Piper is successfully pulled off stage with his candy cane crook and locked in the music closet. After kicking and apologizing, Mr. Piper slumps on the floor in the closet in tears. Drummer explains to the crowd that Mr. Piper wasn’t feeling well, but the choir will sing on. 


After several holiday selections, Mr. Piper brakes out of the closet and runs across stage in a tizzy in his hideous tutu. The audience laughs as though it is a joke, and so it is, but it is also the best choral performance in the history of Head of the Class Middle School, and it never involves one bit of ballet dancing for the choir. Mr. Piper bows in his tutu, throwing candy canes to the crowd in good cheer. Next year, the choir will be doing a ballet with singing, Mr. Piper scolds and informs the parents. As the choir members mumble that they will be trying out for sports team instead, Mr. Piper considers that they could just take a field trip to the New York City Ballet instead. The students once again pull him off stage with his own candy cane shepherd’s crook.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters 

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