The Murdock Middle High School Music Department ensembles, under the guidance of Music Director Alyson Galipeau, are steadily growing in size and expertise. This holiday season two concerts offered the chorus and instrumental groups a chance to gain valuable performance experience as they showed audiences what they can do.

On Saturday, December 14, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon invited the Murdock Middle School Chorus, Murdock High School Chorus and Murdock Chamber Singers to give a special performance as a conclusion to the day-long Holiday House Tour open house. The groups performed a variety of pieces including Orazio Vecchi's "Fa Una Canzona," a "Frozen Choral Suite" that highlighted indigenous Norse vocal sounds known as yoiking that are featured in the film's score, the classic song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and the holiday favorite, "Carol of the Bells." Murdock High School flutists Tiana Graessle and Abigail Guerra accompanied the chorus on "Hanukkah Remembrance" by Victor C. Johnson. Ms. Galipeau accompanied the singers on the church's Chickering grand piano.

On Wednesday, December 18, the Murdock Middle High School Winter Concert featured the choruses and bands in a concert that ranged from chamber music to rock.

Ms. Galipeau spoke to the Murdock weekly news show Blue Devil Weekly about the music program.

"I think that it's really important for the face of the school to include a music department," she said. "When you're out in the community, you're singing, you're playing, that's one of the many ways Winchendon sees Murdock. We're spreading a positive message, we're spreading the good news of what students can do here and all their accomplishments. I think it really builds up school morale and it builds up our high school as an institution.

"Our band is smaller than I would like it to be, but I think that is because we are still in a growing period, and we've had a couple of turnovers as far as teachers have gone. So I've been here for three years now, teaching band, and I think we're finally getting to a point where we're growing. But choirs and choruses are doing fantastic.

"I've really been pleasantly surprised with our collaboration with Narragansett, with our marching band. We've had a couple of students march with them and it's really been a good experience for them. The playing levels are so varied--we have sixth graders playing with seniors. So they've been able to get some really difficult, some really challenging music in our collaboration with Narragansett."

Ms. Galipeau said that she's looking ahead to next year when a number of the seniors will graduate. "I do know from experience that when you lose leaders, new leaders step up, and I'm excited to see who those new leaders are going to be next year," she said.