Sharing Christmas cheer ... with song
The Tamaqua Area Youth Christmas Band has made the holidays more musical for residents unable to attend holiday programs. Members include, front from left, Emma Osenbach and Ryan Alicandri; back row, director Rose Beck and daughter Genevieve. ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
A youth group organized to bring Christmas cheer to some Tamaqua area residents who might not have the opportunity to attend holiday musical programs.
The group has been dubbed the Tamaqua Area Youth Christmas Band and is under the direction of Rose Beck.
The line-up includes Beck's daughter Genevieve, 11, on clarinet and flute, Ryan Alicandri, 11, on alto saxophone and Emma Osenbach, 12, on trumpet.
"This project was conceived with the intent to reach those who might not be able to get out and enjoy Christmas programs at other locations due to immobility and other health concerns," said Beck.
"It also gives music students a chance to play more and develop their musical talents, as well as the opportunity to make people feel good at this time of year."
Beck is the owner of Hair and Beyond, 213 East Broad Street, a beauty salon which is located in the same block as the Majestic House Apartments and across the street from the Tamaqua ABC High Rise, both of which provide elderly housing.
"The idea originated last year," related Beck. "Jenny would come to my salon after school on a Friday afternoon, which was the day she had her music lesson. She would have her clarinet with her.
"Some of the ladies from the Majestic House, while getting their hair done, seemed to enjoy listening to Jen practice her lessons, and around Christmastime, the idea was born. I asked my friend Michelle (Ryan's mom) what she thought, and she loved it. Then I asked Emma's mom, Deann. They both took to the idea, and this year it came together."
Beck received what she said was extremely helpful advice from Bob Fetterman, the current director of the Lehighton Boys and Girls band and former Tamaqua Raider Band director, who provided his experience, expertise and sheet music. "I couldn't have done it without him," she said.
The band started rehearsals the third week of September, after school once a week. By playing their parts on the songs on their own, the group strengthened its musical skills and learned to perform a beautiful program of Christmas music very well.
This holiday season, the Tamaqua Area Youth Christmas Band brought the yuletide to both apartment buildings, performing as part of the Spirit of Christmas Festival. They also performed at The Restaurant at The Station, where Sheri Beltz was kind enough to host the young musicians in the lobby.
Beck said she hopes the project will continue to develop, perhaps into an annual tradition. "We would love to grow the band into something more for next year," she mentioned.
If any music student in the Tamaqua area is interested in the program for next year, email the name and contract information to Rose at email@example.com.
Auditions will be held toward the beginning of September for the 2011 Christmas season.