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The smooth sounds of Christmas

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EMPHASIS ADDED:The trombone and saxophone sections of the PHS Jazz Band stand during their practice for Sunday's performance.
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LAST MINUTE PREPARATION:PHS Band Director Diane Haley (right center, pink top) directs the school's jazz band in one of their final practices before their Sunday Christmas concert.
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LAST MINUTE PREPARATION:PHS Band Director Diane Haley (right center, pink top) directs the school's jazz band in one of their final practices before their Sunday Christmas concert.

Brian Powers - bpowers@perutribune.com

Keeping with tradition, the Peru High School band will be hosting their annual Christmas concert Sunday afternoon, and there’s something for everyone in it.

According to PHS Band Director Diane Haley, the school’s jazz band will kick off the show with their vibrant interpretations of three classic Christmas carols.

“We’ll be playing 'Angels we Have Heard on High', 'Away in a Manger' and 'Joy to the World',” Haley said. “These will be jazz renditions complete with jazz solos.”

Students will get the chance to stand up and show off their solo skills on piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion and more.

“Two of our kids are pianists and they’re quite good,” Haley said.

The band director said the annual Christmas show has been putting the residents of Peru in the holiday spirit for decades— long before she was handed the reins of the teenage musicians.

“I know it’s been since way before me,” she said. “I know it’s been around since the 1950s or 60s because there have been programs I’ve looked at from back then.”

Haley also said the jazz band plays different pieces of music for each Christmas concert.

Once the jazz band is finished with their set, they will be joined by the rest of PHS band for a concert band performance to finish out the show.

According to Haley, the format for the concert used to look different, but those in charge were forced to change it up a bit.

“We used to do the band and choir together,” she said. “We had split them up, though, because things got too big.”

Haley also said the students usually perform in front of between 300-400 audience members, but many more could witness the spectacle since the PHS auditorium can hold around 900 attendees.

The show, scheduled to begin around 2 p.m., is expected to last around 50-60 minutes and is free and open to the public.

Haley said the band takes a freewill donation, but there is nothing formal or expected.

“We don’t have a donation drum or anything like that,” she said. “We just do it and say ‘Merry Christmas, thanks for coming out.’”