Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 16, 2013

Chimaleers a real holiday tradition

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — One of Pauls Valley’s most recognized and celebrated holiday venues is once again around the corner. Sure to entertain fans of all ages for the 26th year in a row, the students of Whitebead School will return to the local First United Methodist Church tonight for the latest rendition of the Chimaleers’ concert.

Led for the 10th such occasion by Whitebead music director Phillip Donihoo, it’s something he believes is a privilege to offer through a tradition going back to when Joan Hunter-Patillio started it in 1987.

It also continues to be a way the students can be themselves through festive yuletide tunes.

“It’s very important for kids to express themselves musically and it’s very important for the community to be able to support it,” said Donihoo. “It’s always a fun performance.”

The show gets going at 7 p.m. with a mixture of traditional holiday classics and a few contemporary pieces and while much of it is still routine, Donihoo never tires of the interaction with the students and hearing their feedback after a good performance.

He said the benefits of learning the instruments spread past their enjoyment and it often shows in their academics as well through improved grades and self-confidence.

“It makes me feel successful to see them succeed,” said Donihoo, who has also had a learning experience being a part of it each year even though he taught hand bells when he was in graduate school.

“This provides comfort, reverence and tradition.”

There are about 38 kids involved in the one hour show this time, primarily made up of sixth, seventh and eighth graders, with some volunteering from the fifth grade.

He noted how parents are sure to continue with their compliments as they offer plenty after the last bell is rung and young kids watching always get a kick when they hear a jingle they recognize.

“The parents are always supportive and appreciative of what their kids can accomplish,” said Donihoo.

“When the little kids hear classics like Rudolph and Frosty they tend to get pretty excited.”

The PV church is located at 401 North Willow.