The "tiny tots" screamed, clapped and jumped in their seats when their favorite holiday and television characters made their way into the James Madison High School auditorium for the 28th annual Tiny Tots concert.
As the concert band played seasonal tunes, costumed characters, from Sesame Street icons to Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf and Santa and Mrs. Claus, took the stage and walked through the aisles, interacting with the children from pre-schools and with families. Tigger, always the extroverted sort, even conducted the band briefly.
"It’s scripted well for this age group," said Band Director Michael Hackbarth. "This event is a big thing for the community." Hackbarth said that the scripts are modified every couple of years, and this production is in its second year.
Toy soldiers accompanied the characters and marched in to Tschaikowsky’s "Nutcracker." A pajama-clad Mckenna Weipert nestled in an oversized comfy chair, narrated the descriptions of the instruments and introduced the concert’s special guests.
Rudolf pranced in to "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer;" Frosty rolled in to his signature tune, "Frosty the Snowman," and it was fitting that Santa and Mrs. Claus were welcomed as "Here Comes Santa Claus" boomed out.
Favorite characters? Kiara Riley, a Vienna 4-1/2-year-old, said Santa Claus was her favorite. Friends Vihini and Pesandi Gunaseker agreed.
The event is constructed as an introduction to the world of music, said coordinator Susan Lubert.
As the band played "Sleigh Ride," a gentle "snow" fell around the stage. And as children are wont to do, some of the young ones from the front rows did the natural, spontaneous thing: they played in it.