The Last Holiday Concert

The Last Holiday Concert


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689845161
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 10/05/2004
Edition description: Repackage
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 546,946
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

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

Read an Excerpt

The Last Holiday Concert

By Andrew Clements

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Andrew Clements
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-689-84516-2

Chapter One


It 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 hishead. "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:


Quiet 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 minutes

Sixth Grade Band - 20 minutes

Sixth Grade Chorus - 30 minutes

Mr. 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:


"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.


Excerpted from The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements Copyright © 2004 by Andrew Clements. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

The Last Holiday Concert About the Book Just because he is popular doesn’t mean sixth-grader Hart Evans has all the answers. He doesn’t know how to get his little sister Sarah off his back. And he doesn’t know how to make Mr. Meinert’s chorus class any less aggravating. Or maybe he does. One boring afternoon Hart snaps a rubber band toward his teacher’s podium with an astonishing result. Struggling to control the class and about to be laid off, Mr. Meinert is in no mood to have his worth challenged by a student prank. So he simply stops rehearsing for the upcoming holiday concert. The class elects an unwilling Hart as their new director. Unlike Mr. Meinert and his iron fist, Hart manages the class with loose, friendly charm and encourages everyone’s input. But as the show date approaches, it becomes clear that the concert is chaos. When Hart tries to take tighter control, selecting which kids’ acts to include and which to leave out, his popularity plummets. Distressed by his loss of friends yet not willing to put on a mediocre show, Hart turns to Mr. Meinert. The incredible concert that finally comes to the stage incorporates the Hart-generated frenzy of ideas around Mr. Meinert’s structured theme. They call it Winterhope. But will it be the last holiday concert of them all? Discussion Topics 1. At the beginning of the story, do you like Hart Evans? Do you think he would be a popular kid at your school? Explain your answers. 2. Why doesn’t Hart like chorus? What reasons might Mr. Meinert give for being afraid to lose control of his classroom? Do you think there is a relationship between these two problems? 3. Do you think the punishment Principal Richards gives Hart for shooting rubber bands is appropriate? How does Hart tell his parents about his punishment? What do these events teach readers about Hart? 4. Why is Mr. Meinert going to lose his job after the holidays? What does his wife, Lucy, think he should do about the situation? How does Mr. Meinert feel about Lucy’s opinion? 5. What happens to the chorus after Mr. Meinert announces that he will no longer be in charge of the holiday concert? What is Hart’s reaction to the chorus’s election of him as the new director? What might you have done in the same situation? 6. What do you think Mr. Meinert expects will happen after he gives up control of the chorus? Are his expectations fulfilled? Explain your answer. 7. How does Hart shift from being one of the most popular kids in school to one of the least popular? What happens when Hart finally gets to ride in his father’s new sports car? 8. At first Hart, as chorus director, encourages his classmates to “think big, think free, think bold.” As the concert date approaches, why does Hart begin to reconsider this approach? Was his approach wrong in the first place? 9. Hart feels that his problem with the chorus is “human nature itself.” He divides the class into three types of people: “the doers, the floaters, and the gofers.” How does Hart define each type of kid? Do his definitions apply to the kids you know? 10. In the end, how is the problem of the out-of-control concert really solved and by whom? Explain the satisfactions and dissatisfactions the students and Mr. Meinert probably have with the result. How would you have felt to be part of such a concert? 11. Might there be more than one reason this novel is entitled The Last Holiday Concert? Explain. List three things Mr. Meinert learns about teaching and students. List three things Hart learns about popularity and leadership. Activities and Research 1. Popularity is an important issue for many kids. What does being popular mean to you? List ten or more words or phrases that come to mind when you think about popularity. Then create a survey asking friends or classmates to rank popularity, good grades, athletic ability, artistic talent, teachers’ approval, and parents’ approval in order of importance. Add any other questions you would like. Collect the (anonymous) surveys and create a chart displaying the results. What do the results teach you? 2. To express their concerns about war, the kids in Mr. Meinert’s chorus make up their own lyrics to “Jingle Bells.” Select a theme of interest or concern to you. Write your own lyrics to “Jingle Bells,” or another familiar song, in which you explore your theme. 3. Write a two to three paragraph essay describing the best teacher you ever had. What was special about his or her classroom and teaching style? What was the most important thing you learned from this teacher? How does having a good teacher make you feel or behave? (Note: Unless you want to, you do not have to give the teacher’s name.) 4. Imagine you are Hart’s sister Sarah, his friend Zach, or his friend Alex. Write two journal entries, describing how you feel about Hart at the beginning of the story and after the concert. Then write two paragraphs describing how you think Hart felt about himself at these two points in the novel. 5. Even good kids act up sometimes. Imagine you are writing a script for a television comedy or drama entitled “The Day I Misbehaved.” Choose one scene to write, such as the moment you got caught, telling your parents, serving out your punishment, or telling someone what you learned. Read the finished scene aloud with friends or classmates. 6. Many of the kids in the chorus offer Hart suggestions about things they could do in the concert. If you were in Hart’s class, what special talent or trick might you have offered? Write a paragraph describing your talent, adding a photograph, sketch, or diagram if desired. Combine your paragraph with those of friends or classmates to create a wall display entitled “Our Many Talents.” 7. Like Mr. Meinert, does your life outside of school affect your school performance? Keep a week-long journal. Each morning, write a paragraph noting your feelings, thoughts, plans, or concerns. After school, write down observations or recollections about the day. Did you do well on a test? Get into an argument? Receive a compliment? After the week reread your journal. Are there any connections between your home life and school life? Discuss your observations with a friend or classmate. 8. With a group of friends or classmates, plan a performance of your own, perhaps for a younger class or for your family. What theme might you choose? What songs, acts, costumes, sets, or other elements will you include? How will you organize and direct rehearsals? Ask an adult to help oversee your rehearsals. After the show, discuss your experience of planning and performing the show. 9. What does Andrew Clements mean at the end of chapter eight, when he writes: “ . . . no one knew Hart Evans as well as they thought they did—including Hart Evans himself”? Have you ever surprised yourself with a skill or talent you did not realize you had? Draw a series of cartoon-style panels depicting this experience. 10. Are the arts important to you and your friends? Write a letter to your school or community newspaper explaining why the arts are important to kids or write a letter of support to a local artist or arts organization, such as a theater or orchestra. Participate in the arts yourself by taking a class, attending a performance, or being in a show yourself! This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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The Last Holiday Concert 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Hayley96 More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book and I recommend it to anybody. When I first read this book I was a little slow on it, then when I started to read it more often, I read it faster. Then I got to liking it more. This book is about a boy named Hart, and he wants a Christmas concert. When I moved schools my old school had a Christmas concert, and I hoped that it would have it for my new school. But it didn't. So I know what he is feeling. When he noticed there would not be a concert, he wanted to do everything in his power to bring it back. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is up to read it. This is very good in detail, and is worded very strongly. I love this author, I think he is the best author that I have ever read. I recommend this author to anybody. I think everybody should read books by Andrew Clement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was more in to The Fairy Realm Books; I finished them. Before that I had really enjoyed The Magic Tree House books; I finished them too! So I thought to myself, Its time for a new book, which of course was very challenging for me. There is so many good books out there, but i needed a new author. So any way i turned around facing the fiction part of the library, and i honestly am preety picky about every thing; shoes, clothes, food, drink, almost everything!As i was saying, i found the shelf where Andrew Clelment's books were and i was saying negative things about the pictures on her books,(again, very picky,) and i did that repeatively for over 20 times, then finally i agreed on The last holiday concert, which was an exallant book. Its about a boy named hart, but thats all i can tell you for right now otherwise you'll just have to read it yourself. I am right now reading her book No talking and it is a great book too! Thanks guys and Andrew Clelments!!:) p.s is andrew a boy or a girl??:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My teacher is reading it in class and I am likeing it so far
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot, and it was fun to read. The characters were great too! Check it out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Last holiday Concert is a very good book I would recommend it to people who love the books that have the people in it that will do anything to make something happen. This book is a about a boy name Hart who really enjoys Christmas concert. Last year at his old school they had who and he really hopes that they have one at his new school. But after he notices that they are not going to have one he does anything to get a holiday concert! This is one of my favorite books to read during the holiday times but you can read it whenever you want to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your the nerd this time :[} sucker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this book ..... its about a boy named hart and he gets picked to dierect the 6th grade chorus and he has no idea what he was doing at first but he pulled it together at the end but in the middle that got everybody hating him for a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements is about a chorus teacher, Mr. Meinert. He is losing his job because of the school budget. He blows up at Hart Evans and the entire class. He announces that he is stepping down. Mr. Meinert tells the students that they are in charge of the holiday concert.

The most popular student, Hart Evans, is elected to be in charge. It is another great book about how kids can work as a team because they assemble committees and make up a list of songs. I recommend this book to anybody who likes Andrew Clements. I think it connects to a book called Frindle also by Andrew Clements because Mrs. Granger, the teacher, likes to yell too.

Andrew Clements is an author of several picture books, including Big Al and Billy and the Bad Teacher. He taught in Chicago for several years. Today he still writes books in a small shed behind his house in Massachusetts. His books, to me, are always funny.
michael_24 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I think this book was a grate comedy but it was really a bummer how he didn't make a really good ending HE COULD OF FINISH.
sroslund on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Sixth grader Hart Evans is the most popular boy in his class. He¿s confident, easy-going, and, according to some eleven-year-old girls in the story, pretty easy on the eyes. He loves everything about school and what it means for his reputation - everything except chorus. He thinks it¿s boring and embarrassing and one day, as an indirect result from a prank he plays on the director, he finds himself in charge of the upcoming holiday concert. Will Hart be able to pull the rowdy chorus together in time? Will his popularity be compromised when he has to make unpopular choices for the concert? Author Andrew Clements explores themes of peace, cooperation, leadership and, of course, popularity in his early young adult book about middle school in ¿The Last Holiday Concert¿. His language is easy-to-read and the book moves quickly, making it a good choice for readers newer to chapter books. The main character, Hart, is likeable and human and will appeal to reading boys ¿ which is always a find in young adult fiction. The ending gets a little maudlin but as that reflects so much of what middle school represents for most children, it still rings true for its audience. Recommended for ages 9-11.
kl10 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
excellent book about a boy who is in chior and one day accidentaly hits his teacher in thje back of his head with a rubber band. Then his teacher gets so frusterated that he refuses to teach them the holiday songs. So the boy has to teach the whole class the songs before th concert.
iyer35609 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book was a really good quick read. It was short and sweet.
Joles on LibraryThing 5 months ago
A must read for any music teacher. This book tells the story of a school that is ending its music program and what the students go through because of it.
Anonymous 10 months ago
When shooting a rubber band in Chorus triggers backlash from his teacher, Hart Evans is thrown into a tailspin. The class votes him as the new director. From there , we can see a change in the boy, and it shows just what a decision can turn into. Through the eyes of both a student and a teacher, we see the world of school. Their differing viewpoints balance each other out, providing an adult perspective and a child’s. The same thing can mean something vastly different to different people. I would recommend this book for anybody who wants to read a good story, whatever the age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
READ THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book to read during the holiday season!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know what book you read, but the main character of the book, The Last Holiday Concert, is Hart Evans.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope i can get this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Takes off his clothes for the ladies* to me hannah and the others preggo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From Cadence Dobra And its not boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After being married to bucky whitehead, being the oldest person in willow falls, and dealing with five children; amanda, leo, rory, tara, and grace i know exacty how that little boy felt. This book was not andrew clemebts best magic, but remember: REVEIWS ARENT EVERYTHING. As you wil find out soon enough with the help of my... lets just say... magic. - Angela D. Angela
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is lulu and im like the popularist gurl from school and if u dont kno me that slap yo self silly cuz everyone knos me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey! It is Jadelyn KG and guess what! I just turned 13!!! Anyways, I read this book in school, and I LOVED it! Please read Andrew Clements books! THEY ARE AWESOME!!!