The new Richmond Hill High School Chorus Director Jamie Hillen is looking forward to his first concert with the RHHS Chorus and Advance Chorus this upcoming week. Their Holiday Concert will be Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Richmond Hill Primary School.
Hillen worked in the Army Band for 23 years and, while deployed in Bosnia and Iraq, took the Troops to Teachers program to become certified.
Before his arrival at RHHS, he taught chorus at DeRenne Middle School in Savannah. He said the switch to high schoolers has taught him a lot already.
"It’s quite different. At the high school level, there’s a lot more you can do; there’s a lot more options. There’s also a lot more expected," he said.
While the group did a one-song performance on Veterans Day and sang during the Chili Cook-off, Hillen said he doesn’t consider those events concerts. Their Dec. 13 performance will be his debut concert with the group.
"It’s a Christmas concert, it’s going to be really good," he said. "We’ll be mixing it up with some traditional songs, a medley and a great variation on Jingle Bells with featured soloists. We’ll also be doing a piece called ‘Homeward Bound.’ It isn’t really a Christmas song, but it’s going to be a tribute for the military troops who aren’t able to be home for the holidays."
Hillen said when he first started at RHHS, he read the course description for the beginner chorus and saw it was labeled as a non-performing group. He said if the group was going to put in the work and learn songs, he wanted them to have the opportunity for stage time.
"It didn’t make any sense to have a chorus that was working all semester long but didn’t have a chance to perform. So we’re going to get out there and they’re going to do a great job," he said.
Because the RHHS doesn’t have an official stage, Hillen decided the RHPS could make a good location.
He saw the spring concert there, and said it could be a good venue for concerts such as this one.
"We have such a talented group of kids at RHHS, I’m expecting great things," he said.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. under the pavilion at J.F. Gregory Park, the RHHS Band will perform their holiday instrumental numbers, with some help from the RHMS Band as well.
There will be lots of Christmas music, a bake sale and hot cocoa and cider available.
The Bryan County Middle and High Schools are also holding their annual Holiday Concert, featuring the Bands and Choruses, on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the BCMS Multi-purpose Room.