Photo courtesy of John Canning

Perry High students presented a Christmas concert Dec. 21 at Atria’s restaurant in PNC Park.

By John Canning

It was less than a week before Christmas, Dec. 21, when the musician, instrumentalists and vocalists, of Perry High School presented the “Full of Wonder” holiday program at Atria’s in North Shore.  At one moment my Allegheny City sensitivities kicked in and I thought of this event happening on the very site of the first permanent log home, the Robinson’s Log Cabin, which was constructed on the very site of PNC Park. Perhaps it was also the very site of the first Christmas celebrations on the Northside.

There was not a vacant seat in the house as the students of Perry, under the direction of their music teachers, produced a joyous program. Again I thought of the present owner of Atria’s, Jack Hunt, a graduate of Oliver High School, who was part of a Northside Doo Wop group. While listening to several familiar holiday songs my thoughts went back the catchy lines of “Blue Moon” as sung by the “Marcels.”

Perry’s band, while a bit small in number, rocked the room with their renditions of old and new holiday favorites. The drums, bass, and brass sounded fine. No Mannheim Steamroller here, but for the bistro feel of Atria’s it was just right. At the end of the instrumental part of the concert everyone seemed to be in the spirit of the season.

The second half of the program was presented by Perry’s chorus, including several solo selections with choral background,, even featuring a  lovely melody with words sung in Aramaic. The mood of the choir was so together in this selection. But the choir director explained that the words were taken from the 130th Psalm; “How lovely it is for people to live together in peace.” I thought to myself that the message is as significant today as when it was written thousands of years ago.

The concert ended with the chorus sauntering throughout the dining room wishing an upbeat melodic Merry Christmas to all in the audience.  Maybe the Perry students are beginning a new Northside tradition.