Hart Evans has always been one of the coolest kids at his school. Even Hart's name itself is cool, so it is little wonder that coolness comes naturally for him. Hart's friendly attitude and pleasant nature make him everybody's friend. There is only one thing that Hart doesn't like, and that's chorus, organized by Mr. Meinert. Andrew Clements explains Hart's feelings with regard to chorus.
“Hart was sure that Mr. Meinert had designed the entire chorus experience so it would be as awkward and annoying and uncomfortable as humanly possible. Chorus simply was not cool, not one bit of it, which meant that chorus cramped Hart's style in the worst possible way.
Because at one end of the Palmer School universe there was Hart and his slowly rotating galaxy of ultimate coolness. Then way, way down at the other end of time and space, past all the stars and moons, and planets, there was Mr. Meinert, singing his head off somewhere inside a very uncool black hole.”
When Hart goofs off in chorus class and accidentally shoots Mr. Meinert with a rubber band his teacher looses control and drags him to the office. Hart gets a couple days of detention, but other than that he manages to avoid any serious punishment. However, for Mr. Meinert this is the last straw.
In a rather dramatic scene Mr. Meinert tells the class that since they obviously don't want to take him seriously, then they can just run the concert themselves, pick their own songs, and practice them or don't practice them whatever way they want. Then Mr. Meinert pushes his desk to the side of the room and tells the children: “Have a nice concert.”
At first the children are shocked, and can't believe that Mr. Meinert is serious. Soon however, they realize that Mr. Meinert really has given up. Some of the children decide that chorus should now be a free period where everyone can goof off and have fun. However, the children quickly realize that when the holiday concert night finally arrives they have to have something prepared so they don't end up embarrassed in front of their parents and the other students.
After a brief election the results are announced: the children have decided that Hart Evans will be their leader and help them get the concert organized. But can Hart handle the responsibility? More importantly can he organize a good concert and still manage to keep his good reputation?
“The Last Holiday Concert” does a good job of exploring the contrast between leadership and popularity. Andrew Clements shows how Hart has to walk a very fine line to keep the respect of his fellow classmates and at the same time make sure that the holiday concert is a success. As always Andrew Clement's characters are amazing. He manages to put a surprising amount of depth into his depictions of school age children.
“The Last Holiday Concert” is another great Andrew Clements book for young readers.
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