Touch of Class Featured in Local Christmas Show

Emlyn Swardenski, Student of Journalism

A series of Christmas shows features Neenah’s Touch of Class with band STEEM and violinist Mark Wood across the Fox Valley this December.

Last year’s viewers of the show described it as a festive and fun holiday activity for all ages.

“I went last year with my mom, and we both enjoyed the music a lot. It was cool to see all different ages of musicians working together,” junior Carly Keesler said.

Appleton Downtown Inc. provides the following details about the performance:  From Mark Wood, an Emmy-award winning violinist, to Steve March-Torme, son of famed songwriter Mel Torme, the performance boasts a number of well-known musical names. The spirit of the season will be represented in an exciting range of musical styles according to March-Torme. Both the variety of musical styles as well as the well-known participants made the show quite daunting to participate in for the 19 high school students involved.

“It can be intimidating, but seeing and hearing the product of our hard work is incredible,” violist Kas Austin, senior, said.

Touch of Class has spent numerous two to five hour rehearsals preparing music for the performance. They have been practicing since October, a necessary amount of time to learn 15 different pieces of music all with different styles and difficulty levels. Using new tools like in-ear monitors, click-tracks and acoustic pickups allowed students to fully immerse themselves in a professional environment as musicians cellist Joe Kaiser, senior, said. This year’s show will be Touch of Class’s second time performing in Kids 1 to 92, rendering the group bursting with anticipation for the event.

“Our Christmas show is unlike anything else we do because we get to work with professional musicians. I really enjoy playing with such talented people!” violinist Ellie Mertes, senior, said.

The honor to work with professionals is not one unnoticed by Touch of Class members; however, the professionals are not the only musicians they enjoy working with. Experiencing the music with one another is a huge part of the experience Austin said. Touch of Class spends hours rehearsing individually and as a group each week to prepare for various performances. The necessary teamwork to be a musical ensemble and the time spent together has created a strong bond between the members of the group.

A delightful holiday show and an incredible opportunity for NHS musicians, Kids 1 to 92 is sure to be a memorable performance.

Touch of Class will perform two shows at the Grand Theater on Dec. 8 and 9 and a finale at the nearly sold out Performing Arts Center on Dec. 22. Tickets are $21 to $65 and can be found on the Oshkosh and Appleton theater’s websites.