‘Christmas Everywhere’: Charleston kids learn global Yuletide
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Dec 24, 2012 | 1522 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas around the world
KINDERGARTENERS and first-grade students shake bells as they sing, “Kling Glöckchen Kling,” the German version of “Jingle Bells.”
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Students at Charleston Elementary School took a trip around the world this holiday season as they learned about the different ways Christmas is celebrated.

Students learned songs in German, Japanese and Spanish in preparation for the school’s annual Christmas concert.

“It shares the Christmas spirit and how there are different cultures of Christmas, and everybody shares in a different way,” fourth-grader McKenzie Decker said.

The concert was held at Walker Valley High School to make enough room for all the parents and community members who came out to enjoy the show.

Music teacher Amanda Szidiropulosz chose the theme to bring a different flavor to the concert.

“I just wanted to do something different,” Szidiropulosz said. “That way the kids could learn about some different cultures.”

After researching different Christmases around the world-themed choir shows available, Szidiropulosz chose “Christmas Everywhere.”

The opening song by the same title was third-grade student Samuel Lowe’s favorite. Before the show, Samuel said he was looking forward to “standing in front of my mom and singing.”

Samuel said he enjoyed learning two songs for the concert.

Students shared their new-found knowledge of other countries’ Christmas traditions before each song they performed.

Kindergarteners and first grade students performed “Kling Glöckchen Kling,” which is the German version of Jingle Bells.

“They were excited, very excited,” Szidiropulosz said.

First-grade student Zach Taylor said this was his favorite song of the night.

The music teacher said she was surprised at how well her students had done learning songs in different languages.

Second-grade students sang “Kiyoshi Kono Yoru” (“Silent Night” in Japanese). New Year’s is a bigger holiday in Japan than Christmas is, according to student Angeles Bates.

“Because they only recently began celebrating Christmas, they don’t have traditional carols of their own,” Angeles said.

McKenzie joined her class in singing “Sing We All Noel” a traditional song in Africa. McKenzie said she enjoyed learning about a new culture in preparation for the concert.

In southern Africa, church services are an important part of celebrations. Dutsch Dorman said many varieties of flowers, native to the area are used in decorations. Gifts are often practical and churchgoers give a special offering as a gift to Jesus.

Samuel joined his fellow classmates as they sang “Aussie Jingle Bells.” Instead of snow, the song features sand and summertime activities.

“Instead of snow on Christmas you might see lightning or even hail,” Vera Acebedo said.

The warm summer weather has been known to be as hot as 95 degrees on Christmas. Vera said students in Australia are some of the first to celebrate Christmas because of the country’s proximity to the International Date Line, making Australia among the first countries to welcome each new day.

Noah Spurgeon, a third-grade student, shared with the audience that many traditional Christmas songs are sung in Australia. However, the words to the songs have been changed to reflect the culture and climate of the country. Many families celebrate the holiday with a picnic or barbecue.

Arizona Reyes and the other fifth-graders sang “A La Nanita Nana,” a Spanish lullaby to Jesus. In Mexico and other Latin American countries, people celebrate Christmas by attending a midnight mass. Part of this includes singing lullabies for baby Jesus.