Choir, orchestra, band celebrate end of year with concerts

May 21, 2015 — by Claire Chou and Gwynevere Hunger

The first of three year-end music concerts opened with a performance by the Concert and Chamber Choirs in the McAfee Theater on the evening of May 8 and continued in succession from there.

The first of three year-end music concerts opened with a performance by the Concert and Chamber Choirs in the McAfee Theater on the evening of May 8.

Led by director Andrew Ford and accompanist Devyn Noriel, the 36-person choir sang a series of songs from requiems, songs intended to be sung at funerals during the first part of the concert.

Their repertoire included “Introit” by Gabriel Fauré, “Kyrie Eleison” by David Huntsinger, “Dies Irae” by W. A. Mozart, “Sanctus” by Craig Courtney, “Pie Jesu” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “In Paradisum” by Fauré.

The second half of the concert, titled “A Light in the Darkness,” focused on appreciating life.

For example, the mashup of “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story and “Unpretty” from TLC was intended to help the girls of the choir build self-confidence, Ford said.

“[The song] was fun since it wasn’t Latin and super serious, especially since we all had little ‘solos’,” sophomore alto Gillian Grant said.

After awards such as most valuable and years spent in the program, eight Chamber singers presented Ford with a secretly prepared rendition of “Bumble Bee” by Anders Edenroth, which had been canceled from the program.

Almost a week later, on May 14, the orchestras performed in the second concert. The night started with the Saratoga Philharmonic Orchestra playing “Bollywood Strings” by Julie Lyonn Leiberman and “Warrior Legacy” by Soon Hee Newbold. The Saratoga Symphony Orchestra (SSO) followed with Violin Concerto No. 3, Op. 61, with senior Jackie An soloing on violin.

At a concerto competition held by the school in December, An competed in front of six judges — music directors from local schools — for a spot to perform a concerto solo on violin. After the competition, one string player, one bass player and two wind players were chosen as soloists. They then were allowed to select which concert they would like to solo at.  

I chose the year-end concert because it seemed like the most memorable concert for me as a senior,” An said.

The concert closed with both orchestras playing “A Tribute to John Williams,” an arrangement of Williams’ works, a senior skit and the traditional awards ceremony for students and staff.

The final concert, led by the band and percussions, took place on May 15. The Percussion Ensemble began with “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by J. S. Bach, and then transitioned to the more cheerful “Galop from The Gadfly” by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Next, the Symphonic and Freshmen Band performed the  “Moving the Mountain” by Vince Oliver, who is part of the music department, and music from “Jurassic Park” by John Williams.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE) then performed four pieces, including  the “Concerto for Trombone and Band” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov with a trombone solo by sophomore Jaewoo Lee.

Though Lee said it was hard to find time to practice his solo in addition to completing his schoolwork and preparing for auditions, by the day of the concert, he had the 10-minute piece memorized.

When I finished, I was happy to be done with it, and grateful that SWE played so well with me and that so many people got me flowers and pineapples and carrots,” Lee said.

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