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Singing for their special person

Parents gathered in their scarves and umbrellas under a canopy to escape the rain to watch Robert Gisler Elementary School’s orchestra.

With cameras, cell phones and video cameras trained on the two dozen students playing violins and acoustic guitars — along with a lone pianist and percussionist — parents watched the students while waiting for the holiday concert to begin.

Gisler hosted its annual Special Persons’ Day as the rain trickled down on the campus.

Special Persons’ Day is an annual holiday celebration where the students invite the special people in their lives to hear them sing and check out their schoolwork, fifth-grader and student council President Rachel Simurda said.


The concert was supposed to scheduled for the quad — complete with a handmade banner welcoming guests in silver glitter and dotted with paper penguins, snowmen, Christmas trees and Santas. Instead, it took place in the multi-purpose room with each grade coming one at a time, and the parents and guests rotating in with them.

“I did all the anti-rain dancing I could, but I guess it couldn’t work out,” Principal Jennifer Perkins told the audience.

The kindergarteners came out in hats and scarves to sing “Over the River,” the first-graders sang “Favorite Things,” and the second-graders performed “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” in red paper noses and brown paper antler crowns.

The third-graders performed “Jingle Bell Rock,” followed by the fourth-grade rendition of “Turkey Tango.” The fifth grade closed the show with “God Bless the USA” and then lead the audience through “God Bless America.”


The fifth-graders practiced every day for more than week to prepare for the show, Rachel said.

All the grades had their songs assigned to them, but no one was disappointed.

“I’m sure everyone loves the songs they get to sing,” she said.

The event comes on the last day before the holiday break. The school has the long-standing tradition of allowing the students to leave with their parents after the performance if they want, Perkins said.

Huntington Beach resident Michelle Frechette, whose son Justin, 8, performed with his third-grade class, said her family is taking advantage of the tradition. Justin chose his father as his special person and the two were going to spend time together after the event, she said.

This is the family’s fourth Special Persons’ Day, but still seeing them perform is still moving, Frechette said.

“I always get a little tear in my eye,” she said.