By Jessica Charles ’17
Showcasing students’ wide array of talent and dedication, the Spring Concert consisted of performances by the Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Intermediate Band, Wind Ensemble, Battle of the Chori, and Advanced Chorus on May 25 in the auditorium.
Excitement, as well as humidity, filled the air at 6pm, as parents filed into the rows with cameras in their hands, ready to record the performances.
After rehearsing their hardest since the beginning of the term, the time finally came for students to display their musical skills. As the band performers made final preparations and took their seats on stage, The Renditions, a trio that consisted of electric guitarist Nicholas Lopez ’17, drummer Jordan Pericles ’17, and pianist Demir McCrae ’17, entertained the audience with opening music that gave a taste of the talent to come throughout the night.
To kickoff the show, the audience rose for the Star Spangled Banner, sung by the Advanced Chorus. Audience members listened in silence while harmonies and melodies echoed through the auditorium. Advanced Chorus receive thunderous applause at the end of their performance.
The Symphonic Band took to the stage next, playing three selections with Mr. Daniel Jordan, the band director. First, they played An American March written by John Edmondson and Joy by Frank Ticheli followed, which had a cheerful tone to match its name. The third song played was Zeal by Rob Grice, consisting of trumpets, trombones, tubas, and drums.
“Seeing everything come together for the final product and having that night where they sound amazing is really something else,” said Mr. Jordan. “It’s all about the end game, the final performance, which is great.”
Afterward, the show transitioned into Battle of the Chori, in which periods 3,4,6,8, and 9 performed two pieces of music. Each period sang one classical piece chosen by chori director Ms. Robin Casalta and one popular piece chosen by the students themselves.
“We start out with a bit of rounds in order to get a sense of the voices we have in the room and then start making decisions about a popular piece until we come to a consensus,” said Ms. Casalta.
First up was period 9, who got on stage dressed in all black. They started off with classical piece Cantate Deo. Cheerleader by OMI was the popular piece they sang, which had a refreshing violin solo, instead of a trumpet solo.
Chorus member Jahid Roni ’19 said, “This experience has shown me to have a lot of patience and I’ve learned to consistently work hard.”
Period 6 chorus performed with special guest director Ms. Angelique Alexander, who is also a math teacher. Kevin Chen ’19 was their pianist, who played during the group’s rendition of When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars.
The Intermediate Band came on next, which consisted of about 150 students. The audience instantly recognized the first piece they played, the Star Wars theme song. The performance received loud applause and then they moved into Low Rider and Voodoo Dance, the latter being the most difficult piece the band faced. “Voodoo Dance is, by far, the most difficult because it requires a lot of independence,” said Mr. Jordan. “Since a lot of the parts aren’t in unison, students have to rely on themselves to really execute it.”
Intermediate Band player Sierra Lucien ’19 stated, “We’ve been working really hard and it’s great to have a platform where all of us can come together to show everybody how far we’ve come from the first semester.”
Period 4 chorus drew the audience back into Battle of the Chori, dressed entirely in black, which fit accordingly with the somber classical piece they sang, called Lascia Ch’io Pianga. Then they moved on to sing Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, accompanied by a piano, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar.
Next up was period 3, who walked onto the stage filled with excitement. They performed with The Renditions, who accompanied them when they sang Stitches arranged by Jacob Narverud.
The final contestants in Battle of the Chori were the students in period 8 chorus. They put a strong end to the competition, choosing to sing Hello by Adele. The performance began with a vocal solo from Annabel Xie ’19 and the rest of the chorus joined in smoothly at the chorus of the song.
“It was nice hearing songs that I knew, which is why I really enjoyed the popular pieces that the chori chose to sing,” said audience member Briana Joseph ’18.
The audience was then reminded to vote for a winner of the battle by filling out the ballot on the last page of the program packet. Performers were also able to vote and dropped off their ballots in a box in the lobby. With all the great performances from the beginner chori, anyone could take the win and receive bragging rights and a pizza party.
With the chori competition over, the Wind Ensemble took to the stage with director Ms. Melissa Williams and played four selections. First off, they played Courage March by Harold Bennett and it was followed by Among the Clouds by Brian Balmages. After that, the ensemble mesmerized the audience with Invicta by James Swearingen and finished off with an upbeat modern piece called Rather Be, which was written by Clean Bandit and Tom Wallace. After all these pieces, the Wind Ensemble received a lot of applause.
For the finale, the Advanced Chorus returned to the stage and sang two pieces, the first being a classical piece called Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel and the second being a pop song called Photograph. When singing both pieces, the audience focused on the beauty of the students’ voices and their performance received one of the loudest applauses of the night, even getting a few standing ovations.
Overall, the Spring Concert was wonderful and embodied what dedication and hard work looks like. Due to the unrelenting determination from both the performers and all teachers involved, the concert was one to remember.