Krampus crashes CHS’s winter concert

Wind Ensemble and Choir host a Christmas-themed concert featuring holiday classics with an eerie twist


J. Dollins

Band Director Kenneth Taber leads the wind ensemble in their performance of “A Cartoon Christmas” at the annual Winter Concert.

Colton, CA—Friends and families of Colton High’s wind ensemble and choir gathered in the packed Rivera multi-purpose room on December 8th, excited as the musicians took the stage to put on a free Christmas concert. 

The highlight of the evening was the ensemble’s spine chilling performance of the holiday piece “A Christmas Tale (Beware of Krampus)” as arranged by Randall D. Standridge. 

This compilation of Christmas songs—“Ukrainian Bell Carol,” “Up on the Housetop” and “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” but played in a minor key—included a narrator, and had choir students as background screamers to bring the goosebumps. 

The narrator was Jeremiah Dollins, Pepper Bough Advisor. Choir guest soloists were Vivian Guevara, Luis Fonseca, and Benjamin “Benji” Velarde. 

The crowd loved this piece, despite the performance possibly giving their children nightmares for the evening. Friend of the band Aiden Smith thought just that. “The Krampus one, that went crazy,” he said. “For lack of better terms, that was just extremely impressive. And I think the voiceovers, the screaming and the combination of all the instruments was very well done.”

The wind ensemble opened with the cutesy “A Cartoon Christmas” as arranged by Michael Story. It gave attention to iconic christmas songs like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” compiled into one jazzy arrangement, featuring trumpet soloist Marcos Juarez on Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” 

Choir performed the shopping mall staple “Last Christmas” by Wham!, featuring soloist Vivian Guevara, and “Mistletoe” by Justin Beiber. Before the song by Beiber, band director Kenneth Taber shared with the audience that this song was selected by the choir themselves. 

“I really liked the songs we sung,” junior Natalie Diaz explains, “It’s sort of tradition in our choir class that Taber chooses a classic song for us to sing while also letting us choose a song that we’re more fond of.”

The choir’s performance went according to plan, except for when Taber forgot to get the mics in place for the soloists during “Last Christmas.”

“This time they actually went really well,” Taber said, trying to play it cool. “At the first choir song, I totally forgot to move the solo mic over to the girls before the song started. But other than that, flawless. I made it in time.”

This is the first concert performed on Colton High campus since pre-pandemic. For the last two years, the Whitmer auditorium has been closed for renovations, requiring Colton’s musical programs to stage their shows at Grand Terrace High School. With Grand Terrace’s theater booked through the season, the Rivera served as the stage for the performances.

While this Winter concert was free, the band’s Band Booster Club sold fresh hot chocolate with toppings along with raffle tickets for prizes as a band fundraiser. Prizes included gift cards, Beats audio headphones, and a 32-inch HD television.

After a final applause for all that was performed everyone went home filled with the Christmas spirit with them, or maybe a newfound fear of Krampus.