By Alexander Tushishvili ’17, Yuliana Pavlyuk’17 and Fiona Ng He ’17
Midwood kicked off the new year with a musical evening for students and families to enjoy. On January 13, chorus classes battled in this annual competition. In this event, students show their talents and skills acquired in the class.
The auditorium was filled with enthusiastic parents and talented students at 6:00pm on Wednesday January 13, 2016. Wind Ensemble Director Melissa Williams, and her class of advanced players, Symphonic Band Director Daniel Jordon and his band of intermediate players along with the Jazz Ensemble, and Robin Casalta and her choirs and Glee Club, all put on a spectacular performance.
Ms. Robin Casalta, chorus teacher, has been doing “The Battle of the Chori” for approximately 4 years. It is a tradition she took on when she started teaching at Midwood. During this event, parents and students vote for the best performing class. It takes one semester to prepare students for the competition, and throughout this time students grow and become very supportive of each other.
Although it has only been 5 weeks, roughly 25 rehearsals since the band split, both the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band have made vast improvements.
Bellody Chan ’18, a clarinetist of the advanced Wind Ensemble said, “I definitely do think that the band has made improvements. Ms. Williams taught us a lot about technique while Mr. Jordon taught us breathing exercises so wind players achieved a fuller, bigger, and better tone”.
Both bands feature all kinds of musical arrangements. Some songs featuring the popular animated Christmas movie “The Polar Express”, featured by the Wind Ensemble to crowd pleasers such as a fast and aggressive song ‘Drive!’ featured by the Symphonic Band.
“I am so excited for the winter concert because we are performing music pieces from my childhood favorite movies, The Polar Express,” said Lillian Chen ’18.
Along with the popular selections of music, the Wind Ensemble has been working on a famous Scottish melodic piece called Loch Lomond (Arr. By David Black). Loch Lomond is written in 6/8 time, meaning there are 6 beats to every measure. The rhythm in Loch Lomond is quite difficult as it is counted one-two-three, four-five-six, at an alarmingly fast rate, which can make it hard to keep up with. Although the measure has 6 beats, the conductor gives two beats time, which means every swing of the conductor’s arm, is 3 smaller beats. But when put together, Loch Lomond is a soft melodic piece with a patriotic ring to it.
“Personally, I enjoy playing soft and melodic music over powerful and aggressive,” said Chan ’18. “Most of the time, powerful and aggressive music are fast. It takes a lot of practice with the fingering to be able to play it within the time signature assigned. With melodic and soft music, I feel like I can pour my soul into it, take my time, and such. For me, it shows the band’s potential more.”
The Symphonic Band’s arrangement of Drive! is a fun song that will truly get you engaged. The song features many trumpet outbursts and a low brass show off. With the trumpet and low brass combined together it makes for a powerful and movie scene like song. It feels as though you’re in an action movie!
As for Ms. Robin Casalta’s choirs, they put on an arrangement of beautiful well known songs along with many songs from the 16 century such as Exultate Justi and A Mozart Cannon. Ms. Casalta has been pushing her beginner choirs and advanced choirs to the max.
“As a singer in advanced chorus, I believe we did good, better then when we practice in our classroom. Of course there is always room for improvement, but I’m proud of what we were able to share with the audience,” said Elsy Argueta ’18.
Along with Ms. Casalta conducting and teaching choir, Ms. Angelique Alexander, a math teacher, was asked to take the position of a vocal teacher because she has a degree in music and was able to take over this task. Ms. Alexander performed the songs “I’ll Be There” and “Seasons of Love”.
“I think we did okay, in a sense but we could’ve done much better. I think since period 6 is mostly freshman, they were a little nervous, but it was my first time too,” said Nicole Skrypnik ’17.
Both Ms. Alexander and Ms. Casalta put together amazing pieces, which were melodic and rejuvenating. With the winners of the Battle of The Choir waiting to be announced, it could be anybody’s game!
All in all, the winter concert was a spectacular performance. Ms. Williams with her powerful conducting, Jordon with his dedication and passion, Ms. Casalta for putting together amazing pieces, and Ms. Alexander who made the time for teaching choir, made the winter concert as amazing as it was.