Weston Buhr staged his own Christmas recital, including the Arkansas Valley Orchestra, at the Ed Stafford Theatre at Otero Junior College.

By Judy Hensley

Weston Buhr gave the community a musical gift in his “Songs in the Key of Christmas” concert Saturday night at the Ed Stafford Theatre. He said he had selected songs for the program that he enjoyed playing and he hoped his audience would enjoy hearing. To fit the title of his concert, most of his selections were Christmas carols or hymns. Many were traditional, such as “The Coventry Carol” and “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,” while others, such as “The Foothills of Nazareth,” were recently composed. All had interesting and complex arrangements. One piece broke from the Christmas theme: “The Music of the Night” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, certainly one of Buhr's favorites. Buhr's style at the piano is very expressive. He adds life to the music by shifting tempos and by changing dynamics dramatically. There was never a simple and predictable um-pah-pah in his playing. Rather, there were lots of extra notes in both the left hand and the right, with runs, flourishes, and arpeggios. The music was sometimes soft and lyrical, sometimes dazzling, with lots of power. All this from a lad of 14 years! He commented on the pieces he played and introduced other musicians with the confidence of a mature performer as well. Buhr switched from the piano to his flute to play with the Arkansas Valley Community Orchestra for two numbers: “Jingle Jingle Jingle” and “All Is Well.” In addition to Buhr, that group is made up of Jody Harrington on piano, Cindy Duran on clarinet, and violinists Don Davis, Donna Hestand, and Elizabeth Daughtry, the founder of the AVCO. Buhr has played with that orchestra for several years. Buhr was originally inspired to play piano by the playing of his grandmother, Jody Harrington. His piano teacher from age eight to the present time is Kristin Golding-Langston. She was also his music teacher at Cheraw School until this academic year, when she moved to the music position at La Junta Junior-Senior High School. In Saturday's concert, he accompanied Golding-Langston as she sang “Breath of Heaven” and “O Holy Night.” He also accompanied Jessica Bay, the new K-12 music teacher at Cheraw, as she played “I Wonder As I Wander” on the violin. Buhr's large and appreciative audience gave him a standing ovation, and his encore was an amazingly rapid rendition of “I Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Wondering how he could move his fingers so fast, audience members joined Buhr and his family in the lobby for refreshments.

By Julie Worley

The musical sounds of the season are filling the air this Christmas week, and the sounds coming from the grand piano on the stage of the OJC Humanities Center on Saturday night were exceptionally beautiful.

The almost 200 people in attendance at Weston Buhr’s self-organized piano concert, “Songs in the Key of Christmas”, went away in awe of the talent and professional stage presence exhibited by the ninth grade Cheraw High School student.

Weston mesmerized the audience playing Christmas favorites, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” to a traditional Danish holiday favorite, “Lovely Sky of Christmas Eve” . He interjected classical pieces, “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” with traditional favorites such as “Over the River and Through the Woods”.

Special guests appearing with Weston included the Ark Valley Community Chamber Orchestra who played a toe-tapping rendition of “Jingle, Jingle, Jingle”. Kristin Golding-Langston showcased her beautiful voice singing “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” and “O Holy Night”. Jessica Bay, the K-12 music teacher at Cheraw School, wooed the audience as she and Weston played the traditional American favorite, “I Wonder as I Wander”.

Concert goers came away amazed at the talent they had witnessed by a young man who we will, undoubtedly, see more of in the future. “Songs in the Key of Christmas” was an enjoyable way to spend a cold winter’s night.