Band Hosts Spring Concert


Ethan Lao, Yearbook Designer

Members of the Westwood Band performed in their annual spring concert on Monday, May 21. The concert was filled with emotions since this was the last concert the soon-graduating seniors would be playing in. Leading up to the concert, two student teachers, Mr. Castro and Mr. Kwaku, helped prepare and conduct the bands during the most hectic part of the year. Even with the short preparation time, each band played extraordinarily well, with incredible performances for both ensembles and soloists alike.

The concert opened with the Concert Band playing Cyrus the Great by Karl L. King. However, instead of one of the band directors conducting, they passed the baton to Mr. Kwaku. Similarly, Mr. Castro conducted the band’s second piece, The Great Locomotive Chase by Robert N. Smith. The Machine Awakes, written by Steven Bryant, involved the use of loudspeakers, which added special effects to the music played by the band. The band closed with an arrangement of some of John Williams’ most famous works, Chillers and Thrillers. The second band to perform was the Symphonic Band, beginning by playing Gandalf from Symphony No. 1, Lord of the Rings, composed by Johan de Meij. The band also played The Wind Racers, by Jeremy Bell, a quick, light piece, and Shadow Rituals, by Michael Markowski, which was once again conducted by Mr. Kwaku. For the Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble, both student teachers would return to play in the ensemble, Mr. Kwaku on trumpet and Mr. Castro on trombone.

“I feel like everyone at the concert played really well, and it was cool to have student teachers come and conduct us,” Jack Flanagan ‘19 said. “But, it was also a bittersweet moment since this would be the last time I would get to play with some of my friends.”

The Wind Symphony opened with Folk Dances by Dmitri Shostakovich, followed by Danse Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saens. The band finished with Mambo from the iconic soundtrack from the musical West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. Before the final band performed Chinmaya Andukuri ‘19, the winner of the Westwood Solo Competition, played his winning solo on marimba, Odessa, by Matthew Lowrick. Playing from memory, Andukuri performed exceptionally well, showcasing advanced musicianship and technique, receiving a standing ovation for his performance. The Wind Ensemble finished the concert, playing Midway March by John Williams. The band also performed The Cowboys, an exciting and technically challenging piece also by John Williams. The concert finished with the famous march by John Philip Sousa, Stars and Stripes Forever.

“My favorite part of the concert was watching Chinmaya play his solo,” Tyler Balfour ‘19 said. “It was really awesome to see somebody else in my grade perform at such a high level.”

For many of the 62 seniors who will be graduating, the concert was a bittersweet moment.  Having just played in their last concert for Westwood, they knew that they would miss being able to perform with their friends, and would especially miss being a part of the band program.

“It felt very surreal playing in my last concert,” Rhythem Sharma ‘17 said. “There is a growing process in band and the fact that I’m going to be all of a sudden not part of that process is a little heartbreaking. I really wish to come back as many times as possible to reexperience the joys of listening and performing at a concert.”

The concert was full of both music and emotions. For many of the students, it was a bittersweet moment, especially for those who are graduating.