DENAIR -- Traditionalists take heart, the jolly elf of Christmas is alive and well in Denair at least he will be as soon as his braces get fixed.
The central character of Denair Elementary's holiday play, "North Pole Exposure," missed dress rehearsal Wednesday because of a wire gone haywire. But he and the missus should be in place today for their 6 p.m. curtain call at the school cafeteria.
School choir director Patti Morrissey directs 38 fourth- and fifth-graders through the Santa-affirming musical, replete with holiday icons. Rudolph corrals distracted reindeer for their one night's duty, snowmen dream of Hawaiian vacations, toy soldiers boost morale, and elves do a bluesy number titled "I'm Tired."
Perhaps even more traditional were the shy smiles and fidgets of kids standing in the spotlight. At rehearsal Wednesday, Morrissey carried the crowd through, filling in for the missing Santa and prompting lines as needed.
"Light on your feet. No elephants!" she called out cheerily as a dance number started on stage.
There were, actually, no elephants. Just reindeer, toys, snowmen and the rest, all excited for their big moment. Asked what their favorite part of the play was, some said the reindeer number, others said singing in general.
Ten-year-old Jasmin Baltazar, however, spoke frankly. "My part," she said simply.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339, and on Twitter, @NanAustin.