My turn

The sounds of the season thril Cal City

2012-12-20T00:00:00Z The sounds of the season thril Cal CityGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
December 20, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Maybe this is a little “Scroog-ish," but I’m not a big fan of Christmas music, at least before what I consider to be Christmas time. And here I am at odds with a large segment of the culture which considers the Christmas season to begin sometime shortly after Labor Day and last until a few days before Christmas Day.

I am one of those who emails the radio station which starts its all-Christmas format in early November, to inform them that I am removing them from my auto setting on the car radio.

But once the season starts, I do enjoy Christmas music performed live.

The South Suburban Chorale, under the most able direction of Al Jackson, does a great job. They have given a Christmas concert at St. Victor for a dozen years now. The concerts have become so popular and the choir is so large that this year the concert was performed twice on consecutive days.

This year’s concert had the added benefit of a brass ensemble. The ensemble along with the nearly 140 voices of the chorale, and the exquisite musicianship of Jackson, made for a grand Christmas treat.

You can hear the South Suburban Chorale when they give their concert May 5 at St. Andrew church in Calumet City.

I also took in the recent concert given by the Music Department of T.F. North High School. I have been a big fan of the T.F. North music program since both of my sons had such a great, rewarding experiences in each of their four years with the program. And the man that makes it work is Mr. Joe Malik

Joe Malik has been with T.F. North for 14 years now. He, along with the School Board back then, particularly the feisty Bob Garritano, brought the band program from one that was embarrassing to watch straggle down Wentworth Avenue in Labor Day parades, to a sharp-looking, great-sounding treat to watch and hear.

The concert last week was great and showed that hard work pays off. Many of the young people in the band program are like my sons in that they come to band with little to no past experience of playing an instrument.

Especially impressive was the fact that the last selection of the Symphonic Band was completely arranged by one of the band members, Johnny Williams. It rocked.

Also spectacular was the improv work of the percussion quartet of John Akis, Ahmad Boyland, Khaleef Kimbrough, and Jemiah Rogers. They put on quite a show.

All this and cheesecake too.

Slices of cheesecake were served to the audience at intermission. Principal Dwayne Evans was helping out with the serving. As a matter of fact, many of the T.F. staff were in attendance, helping with the event. It was a good night.

As our schools continue to face budget issues, too often programs like music and art take a hit. This is truly a sad state of affairs. Participation in the arts can do so much to develop a well-rounded, self-confident and whole person.

There was music in evidence at the tree lighting ceremonies sponsored by Calumet City and the Calumet Memorial Park District. The Schrum choir, along with the aforementioned T.F. North band and choir, and even yours truly with the St. Victor Celebration Choir, made music for the very well attended event. And fireworks does help draw a crowd.

Congrats to the Park District and the city for putting on the event.

If you would, perhaps a little thought and prayer for my wife, Marie as she recovers from surgery.

Merry Christmas everyone. And thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times



Do you agree with The Times Editorial Board's endorsements in statewide races?

View Results