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The Last Holiday Concert

Press:Thorndike Pr Thorndike Press (March 31, 2007)
ISBN:9780786293742
Author Name:Clements, Andrew
Pages:165
Language:English

Content

For Hart Evans, being the most popular kid in sixth grade has its advantages. 
Kids look up to him, and all the teachers let him get away with anything -- all the teachers except the chorus director, Mr.
Meinert.
When Hart's errant rubber band hits Mr.
Meinert on the neck during chorus practice, it's the last straw for the chorus director, who's just learned he's about to lose his job due to budget cuts.
So he tells the class they can produce the big holiday concert on their own.
Or not.
It's all up to them.
And who gets elected to run the show? The popular Mr.
Hart Evans.
Hart soon discovers there's a big difference between popularity and leadership, and to his surprise, discovers something else as well -- it's really important to him that this be the best holiday concert ever, and even more important, that it not be the last.

From Booklist

Gr. 
4-6.
After Hart shoots a rubber band at Mr.
Meinert, he finds that the chorus teacher is not just annoyed but furious.
Unbeknownst to Hart, all the faculty art and music positions have been eliminated, and Mr.
Meinert will not be returning after the winter holiday concert.
When the teacher unexpectedly turns the concert planning and preparation over to the students, they vote to make Hart their leader.
This entertaining novel relates Hart's ups and downs in his challenging new role.
The story also delves into the problems and emotions of Mr.
Meinert and, to a lesser extent, Hart's younger sister.
These shifts in viewpoints and sympathies are unusual and to some extent enlightening, but the narrative always reverts to Hart's thread of the story, which children will probably find most involving.
Many school stories focus on underdogs; this one expresses the concerns of a boy who is popular, yet still under stress.
Convincing in its portrayal of middle-school life, this accessible novel will find a ready audience.
Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

Ôªø "Clements is a master at taking elements of relatively common school situations and turning them into masterful stories with truly engaging characters....[’ÄäThis story] will leave youngsters teeming with emotion." -- School Library Journal"[A] lively crowd-pleaser." -- Horn Book

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

For Hart Evans, being the most popular fifth grader has its advantages: kids look up to him and teachers let him get away with everything. 
But during one choir practice, Hart zones out too far, accidentally flinging a rubber band at his teacher.
Mr.
Meinert realizes that if Hart is ever going to discover his musical potential, his punishment must march to a different drummer.
And then, as Mr.
Meinert is about to leave school because there is no funding left for his job, he orchestrates a class vote to appoint Hart as the new interim choir director.
Now it's Hart's job to ready the class for the annual Holiday concert, and ultimately to convince the board why his teacher should stay in school.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. 
More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards,including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award.
His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more.
He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series.
He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children.
Visit him at AndrewClements.com.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter Six: SnapIt was quieter than usual as Mr. 
Meinert walked into the chorus room on Thursday afternoon.
The kids seemed a little tense, a little uncertain.Mr.
Meinert liked it.
It was a nice change.
As a young man starting his second year of teaching, he was the one who usually felt tense and uncertain.
He thought, Maybe I should explode more often.As he took attendance he avoided looking at Hart Evans.
Even if he had, their eyes would not have met.
Hart was also being careful not to look at Mr.
Meinert.
He had decided it was a good day to keep a low profile.The teacher tossed his grade book back onto his desk and said, "Let's start off today with our new Hanukkah song."A low groan rumbled through the room.
Mr.
Meinert ignored it.
"We're going to have to work on some Hebrew words.
Everyone please stand up in front of your desks."There was more grumbling as the kids stood up.
Again, Mr.
Meinert ignored it.
"We'll start with an easy one -- I'm sure you already know it.
Take a deep breath, and let me hear everyone say 'Shalom.'"The word that came back at him sounded a little like "salami."Mr.
Meinert shook his head.
"No.
No.
Listen: Sha-lom.
Say it."Again the class made a sound.Again Mr.
Meinert shook his head.
"No.
Not 'Shiloom.' Sha-lom.
That's a long o sound, like 'home.' Say it clearly with me.
One, two, three: Sh -- "Halfway into the first syllable Karen Baker pointed at the windows and yelped, "Look! It's snowing!"The Hebrew lesson screeched to a stop.
Everyone turned to look.
"Hey! Snow! Look! It is -- it's snowing!" Tim Miller shouted, "Maybe tomorrow will be a snow day!"A spontaneous cheer burst out, and the kids rushed toward the long wall of windows.The music teacher felt the anger rise up in his chest, just as it had yesterday.
He wanted to scream and shake his fist at the class.
But he resisted.He walked slowly over to his desk.
On his way Mr.
Meinert noticed with some satisfaction that one kid had stayed at his seat: Hart Evans.Mr.
Meinert forced himself to sit down behind his desk.
He opened a copy of Music Educator magazine.
He flipped to an article about teaching the music of Bach to high school students.
He made himself sit still and stare at the page.He read the first sentence of the article, and then he read it again, and then a third time.
He clenched his teeth and felt his jaw muscles getting tighter and tighter.
He said to himself, I'm not going to yell.
I will not lose my temper.
The kids know that what they're doing isn't right, and they will stop it.
Then we'll begin again.
I will sit here and read until everyone sits down and the room is quiet.It didn't happen.
The kids at the windows stayed there.
Ed Kenner opened one and stuck his hand out to try to catch snowflakes.
In five seconds all the windows were open.Around the room small groups of children formed, and kids started talking and laughing.
Some of them leaned against the folding desks, and some sat down in clusters on the floor.Even though he didn't look up from his magazine, Mr.
Meinert could tell kids were sneaking quick looks at him.
As three minutes crawled by, Mr.
Meinert realized that since he didn't look mad, didn't look like a threat, the kids were perfectly happy to pretend he wasn't there.
He had ceased to exist.
Everyone was perfectly happy to do nothing.
Apparently, doing nothing was a lot more fun than singing in the sixth grade chorus.Mr.
Meinert did not normally do things on the spur of the moment.
He liked to plan.
He liked to make lists.
He liked to organize his thoughts.
He liked to think, and then think again.Not this time.It was partly because of what had happened the day before -- the rubber band incident.
It was partly because of everything his wife had said to him at dinner yesterday.
It was partly because he hadn't slept well last night and had been feeling lousy all day.
And it was partly because Mr.
Meinert was sick and tired of trying to make this mob of kids sing when most of them clearly did not want to.For a dozen different reasons, in Mr.
Meinert's mind something snapped.
He jumped to his feet, grabbed a piece of chalk, and began writing on the board.Kids turned to watch.In tall letters he wrote HOL -- but he pressed so hard and wrote so fast that the chalk broke.
Mr.
Meinert threw the yellow stub to the floor, snatched another piece, and kept pushing until he had written these words on the chalkboard:HOLIDAY CONCERTDecember 22, 7 PMQuiet spread across the room like an oil spill.
Kids began tiptoeing back to their seats.
His shoulders tense and his jaw still clenched, Mr.
Meinert kept writing.Sixth Grade Orchestra -- 20 minutesSixth Grade Band -- 20 minutesSixth Grade Chorus -- 30 minutesMr.
Meinert underlined the bottom words three times, and each time the chalk made a sound that would have made a dog run out of the room.Then he turned to look at the class.
Each child was seated, every eye was on his face.Mr.
Meinert spoke slowly, pronouncing each word carefully.
"Thirty minutes.
That's how long the chorus will perform during the holiday concert.
All your parents will be there.
Grandparents will be there.
Probably brothers and sisters.
It's the biggest concert of the year.
Well, guess what?" He slowly raised his right arm and with his fingers stretched out, palm down, he swept his hand from side to side, pointing at the whole chorus.
"This holiday concert, this thirty-minute performance? It's all yours."Someone let out a nervous laugh.Mr.
Meinert spun toward the sound.
"Think this is funny? Well, just wait until December twenty-second, a little after seven thirty.
That's when the real fun begins.
You see, no one's coming to that concert to see me.
I'm just the music teacher.
Everyone is coming to see you, to listen to you.
To watch the wonderful program.
So that's when things will start to get fun.
Because from this moment on, the holiday concert is all up to you.
To you.
Not me.
It's not my concert.
It's your concert.
You don't like the songs I've picked? Fine.
Pick your own.
You don't like the way I run the rehearsals? No problem.
Run them yourselves.
You don't want to sing at all? Then you can just stand up in front of your parents and the rest of the school for half an hour and do nothing.
Who knows what will happen on December twenty-second? Not me.
Right now, there is only one thing that I'm sure of.
On December twenty-second a little after seven thirty in the evening, I will make sure that all of you are on that stage in the auditorium.
What happens once you're there...that's all up to you."Mr.
Meinert turned around, looked at the wall calendar, then picked up a piece of chalk and wrote on the board:23 DAYS"Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.
Counting today, there are twenty-three class periods left before the day of your concert.
There won't be any after-school rehearsals like we had for the Halloween concert, no dress rehearsal the night before.
You have only these twenty-three class periods.
You've learned four songs so far.
But of course, you might want to toss them out and choose different songs.
All that is now up to you.
So.
Have a nice concert."Mr.
Meinert turned and took three quick steps to his desk.
He leaned over and pushed.
The metal legs screeched on the floor as he slid the desk to the far right side of the room and then spun it around to face the wall.
He walked back, rolled his chair over to the desk and sat down, his back to the class.
He picked up his Music Educator magazine and began to read the article about teaching Bach.For the first time in more than a month, Mr.
Meinert felt great.Copyright © 2004 by Andrew Clements

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Few authors capture school situations as convincingly as Andrew Clements. 
In his latest novel, sixth-grader Hart is faced with the challenge of marshaling his chorus mates through preparation for the school concert.
Consensus, fairness, and ownership, as seen from both the teachers' and the students' points of view, take on new meaning.
Fred Berman narrates at a fast clip, capturing the flavor of a multifaceted classroom and the speed at which sixth-graders move.
He voices teacher Mr.
Meinert's frustration, as well as Hart's alternating enthusiasm and disappointment as he hones his leadership skills.
A.R.
2005 ALA Notable Recording © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Tags

Children's Books,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Family Life,Parents,Arts, Music & Photography,Performing Arts,Friendship, Social Skills & School Life,School

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     I thought the book was exciting and there were many lessons to be learned. Andrew Clements weaves lessons into his books artfully while keeping the story line interesting. This book is at a reading level for 9-12 years but a story that all ages would enjoy.

  •     I loved this book! Andrew Clements is my absolute favorite author, and I love all of the books he writes.

  •     Wife uses these books in her classroom and really likes them

  •     Excellent book for young readers. Provided several ideas for discussion in our Children's Book Club.

  •     This is a great book for kids and grown ups.

  •     Although I am an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed this holiday story. I found the characters to be honestly drawn and interesting. The problem Mr.

  •     the book was a fun and interesting book, but I did not like the ending.j j j j j

  •     I loved this book, but the ending was too sad. I liked the characters, but why do people have to be separated in "groups"?

  •     It just blew my mind. I've read the book before, but this book is just... well... mind blowing. Definitely one one of the best, if not THE best book Andrew Clemens has written.

  •     It is a wonderful book I loved reading this book. It feels so real!! And if kids read this book,they would be able to understand hard it can be to teach them.

  •     The Last Holiday Concert is by Andrew Clements. Clements is the author of Frindle which is enjoyed by many children in elementary school. This new book joins the ranks of books like Frindle to be loved by all who read it.Hart Evans is a popular student in elementary school. Will this hold over to Intermediate school as all sixth graders in Brentbury converge on Palmer Intermediate School. At the first assembly, Hart gets his first look at the entire class he will now be in. Can he make his mark here? Where will he fit in the 400 classmates? Hart sets out to be popular once more.Hart’s least favorite class was chorus. He really wanted to play the drums in band; but they had too many applicants for all to be accepted. His recourse was chorus which could be a good class if not for the teacher, Mr. Meinert. Hart liked music and liked to sing; but he wanted to do it his way, not Mr. Meinert’s way. Now he gets his chance. Mr. Meinert gave the class control of the upcoming Christmas concert and the class elected Hart as director. Now if he could just get the class to cooperate!As Hart works his way through the process of putting on a concert, his respect for Mr. Meinert is raised. He begins to learn the difference between being popular and instructing. He learns to work with others to get something accomplished. Will the concert be a success or a failure?

  •     This book had barely any flaws. It's an amazing book about love and confidence. It also shows how much a kid can do!I would definitely recommend this book. I love how the author talks about all religions, not just focusing on Christmas.*small spoiler!* I'm not one for sad endings, but that didn't ruin the book for me. Hopefully Hart and Mr.Meinert will.meet up again sometime.

  •     This is an exciting book which is pretty unrealistic but helps kids get the message of believing. I like this book.

  •     One, two three horruy for a very very very very very very good book 1 2 3 hurrayVery very very good

 

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