Three bus loads of kids all bundled up and raring to go pulled up outside the Center for the Arts at River Ridge on the first December morning that was feeling like winter for real.
It was the last and most important rehearsal before the big show for 121 students and their teachers in the choral and instrumental music programs at Cypress Elementary.
This was not the cafetorium, but a real stage with backdrops and spotlights, plush seating and the scary and maybe awesome thought that all eyes will be on you.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so excited," said chorus member Taylor St. Aubin, 10. "My heart's just pounding."
There was much to remember: when to come on stage and exit; where to stand on the risers so your parents can see you; how to deal with the microphone and the spotlights blinding your eyes when you look out to the audience.
Most important is to sing or play your heart out so everyone can hear loud and clear — even in the back row.
"Come on, let's get the jitters out so it will be a piece of cake for the concert," music teacher Sharon Braman told the chime players who had gone timid with their sound.
Students throughout the county are gathering in local schools and theaters and other venues to perform what they've learned these past months.
Some shows have come and gone.
The Cypress Elementary concert was held last Thursday evening. Two days before that, some 400 choral students from five elementary schools, one middle and one high school combined their talents for the "Southwest Pasco Sings" concert meant to foster and sustain enthusiasm for school music programs in the Trinity area.
"Having the opportunity to showcase choral music was invaluable," said Long Leaf Elementary music director Jim Wanker. "After a year of wondering if the arts were going to be continued in Pasco schools, we saw and heard how resilient our school music programs are. Even through the turmoil of the budget crisis, our choirs are continuing to grow. Being able to take seven schools and combine 400-plus singers was a thrill for everyone involved."
Sorry if you missed that show, but there are more opportunities coming up, whether it be choral, band or something more unusual, such as the holiday concert on Thursday evening that will feature students in the American Sign Language class at Fivay High School.
They're hoping to fill the house.
Why not be a part of that?
Best of all, these shows are free and open to the public. So whether you have a kid that's going to be on stage or not, you can enjoy the multitude of talent being offered up in our schools this holiday season.