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Monday, November 28, 2016

Alvirne music teacher to helm Pops

By DON HIMSEL
Staff Writer

HUDSON - Gerry Bastien, longtime music director at Alvirne High School, will conduct the song "Sleigh Ride" at the SNHU Arena in Manchester during the Boston Pops Holiday Concert on Dec. 10.

The Christmas classic was written in the 1940s, and was first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Pops in 1949. ...

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HUDSON - Gerry Bastien, longtime music director at Alvirne High School, will conduct the song "Sleigh Ride" at the SNHU Arena in Manchester during the Boston Pops Holiday Concert on Dec. 10.

The Christmas classic was written in the 1940s, and was first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Pops in 1949.

The contest to lead a tune at the concert at the former Verizon Wireless Arena was sponsored by Manchester radio station WZID. Voting took place from Nov. 14-20. Although it was friendly competition, it was serious business for Bastien's fan base - albeit with a smile.

Bastien said his wife shifted into high gear by making a plea on her Facebook page.

"The next thing you know, I'm getting votes like crazy," he said.

Bastien, who has been teaching in New Hampshire for 32 years, has been a music teacher and band leader at Alvirne since 1996. His career took him from his start teaching elementary school in Chester through Londonderry's South School to his home with the Bronco music department.

It became a close contest between Bastien and Tom Quigley, music instructor at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.

"We were having fun watching this," Bastien said. "I have a lot of respect for him."

What struck Bastien were the online comments on the WZID voting site from his past students, who showed appreciation for having had the chance to work with him while in school in Hudson.

Bastien said his big-league conducting gig is "going to be a fun thing. I'm excited; a little nervous about it."

Bastien said he feels "humbled by this experience."

"It'll be something to tell my grandkids about," he said.

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-1249, dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DonH.