Michigan City Area Schools’ (MCAS) “One City, One Sound” concert was live and in-person this year for the first time since 2019. The event sees over 800 student performers across choir and band unite to put on one massive production, and this year’s event proved massively popular.
The gymnasium was packed with spectators as elementary, middle school, and high school students took their places to perform some holiday favorites, such as “Jingle Bells” and “Christmas Time is Here.” The performances come after a lot of preparation and practice.
“There are many working behind the scenes on ‘One City, One Sound,’” said Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, MCAS superintendent. “Our music teachers spend many hours helping the students to prepare, and then all students come to the high school the day of the performance to rehearse together -- which involves transporting and feeding the students, too. This concert involves many aspects of our district operation, including our music educators, bus drivers, food service staff, custodial staff, technical staff, administrative team, and student volunteers from our JROTC program. Turning our gymnasium into an auditorium for one evening is no small feat, and all of MCAS contributes to make this a memorable evening. We also appreciate the help of our Michigan City Police Department in directing traffic.”
The event focuses on showing how the soul of Michigan City runs through all of its residents, regardless of who they are or where they come from. The crowd was out for the Wolfpack, and everyone there was happy to show their support.
“‘One City, One Sound’ gives everyone an opportunity to see and hear the results of the hard work of our talented teachers and students,” Eason-Watkins said. “It helps families of the younger students see what is possible for their children as they progress to higher levels in our music program. It's also an opportunity for us to come together as a school system, to celebrate music in our schools and to show our students we are proud of them as performers.”
“Hopefully the Michigan City community recognizes the hard work and dedication of all the music teachers, band and choir directors, and the music students,” added Michigan City High School’s (MCHS) Choral Director Michelle Howisen. “They can see multiple levels coming together to produce something really special and celebrate all levels of musical ability in the Michigan City Area Schools.”
The Michigan City Wolfpack Pride Marching Band helped prepare many high school performers for the concert. The marching band closed out its season at the end of October, securing a silver rating for their judged performances. The talent shown marching on the field transferred to the “One City, One Sound” concert, the confidence apparent in the performers.
The middle school performers were eager to show their talent tonight as well. Both the choir and the band performed arrangements that emphasized the skills they’ve been working on throughout the school year. The elementary music programs also displayed their developing skill set.
“This concert is a wonderful opportunity for the community to see and hear our talented students, and it gives our younger performers a chance to see what is possible for them at higher levels,” said Michigan City High School’s (MCHS) Choral Director Michelle Howisen.
The event concluded with a performance of “Pacem Noel” featuring all of the student performers under the direction of Howisen and Band Director Frank Gast.
In lieu of purchasing tickets, supporters were encouraged by the MCHS Student Council to bring canned goods to donate towards the food drive for the Salvation Army. The Michigan City community is able to create a huge impact on those around them, evidenced by the size of the donations.
“Our community really steps up and helps take care of each other - and we want to be part of giving back and making a difference,” said MCHS Student Council President Kayla Campbell.
“This is why we are continuing the tradition of hosting this food drive, at a time when people need it most,” Campbell said.
The concert brought together 11 schools, six choirs, and five bands to create an unforgettable performance. Running through it all was the unity of Michigan City’s community. The concert, performed live, was also broadcast on MCAS’s YouTube channel, Channel 98, and MCAS’s radio station WEFM (95.9), so even those who couldn’t attend in person could still connect with the soul of the city.