Band Showcases Holiday Cheer at Winter Concert

Srilekha Cherukuvada, Dreamcatcher Editor in Chief

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  • Director Brittany Dacy conducts the Wind Ensemble as they perform.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Director Thomas Turpin welcomes the Wind Ensemble onto the stage.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Percussionists stand for applause at the end of the performance.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Director Brandon Winters applauds for the Westwood Symphonic band following their performance.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Students Penelope Higdon ’22 and Daniel Chen ’22 perform while wearing festive hats.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Julia Fang ’22 plays the clarinet while wearing a festive holiday hat.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Alice Gaede ’22 plays the flute while maintaining her posture.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Megan Patterson ’19 plays the flute.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Natasha Sturdevant ’22 maintains concentration while playing the bass clarinet.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

  • Director Brandon Winters takes in the audience’s applause at the end of the performance.

    Photo By Emma Monreal

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The Westwood Band brought festive cheer with the music in their holiday concert at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Dec. 6. All four bands performed for family and friends after only three weeks of practice, which began as soon as marching season ended.

“The concert was really fun, and I enjoyed it a lot because it was my very first concert,” Annie Kim ‘22 said. “It makes me look forward to other upcoming concerts.”

During the last piece of every performance, the students wore holiday hats and lights to bring out a cheerful vibe to the audience. This fun tradition excited many students because it gave them a chance to express their holiday spirit.

“I think I did pretty well at the concert, especially considering the amount of time we had to prepare for it,” Jessica Hao ‘22 said. “It was a really fun experience as it was the first concert in high school.”

First, the Concert Band performed three pieces, starting with an upbeat and light piece, titled Sparkling Lights by Matt Conaway. They continued their performance with Silent Night in Gotham by Julie Giroux, which was a soft melodious piece, and ended with Fantasy on a Burgundian Carol by Michael Story.

“I am so glad I was able to be a part of the Christmas concert this year,” Abigail Dewhirst ‘21 said. “It got me in a really festive mood and helps to kick off the Christmas season. I was so proud of our band for doing so well with such little time to practice.”

The Symphonic Band took the stage next with Greensleeves by Alfred Reed, which was a soft piece with many melodious lines. It also featured clarinet, flute, and horn soloists. They concluded their performance with Winter Dances by Brian Balmages. The piece conveyed a light Christmas tune with a soft melodic section in the middle, including a solo performed by Alyssa Zhu ‘21.

“I think we all did well at the concert,” Alice Gaede ‘22 said. “I had a lot of fun performing and I thought both of our pieces were really pretty and conveyed a festive tone to the audience.”

Next, the Wind Symphony continued the concert with their first piece, Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, which was a light composition including several different well-known musical pieces interconnected to form a beautiful and uplifting performance. The Wind Symphony ended their performance with Minor Alterations No. 2 by David Lovrien. Associate Director Brittany Dacy picked this piece because it had become a tradition for her to play at the holiday concerts in the past.

“[The concert] was a great celebration of all of the hard work we did, given that we only had about three weeks to prepare,” Anshul Moondra ‘20 said. “The concert was full of holiday joy all the way from concert band performing Sparkling Lights, to Lyle conducting Sleigh Ride.”

Finally, the Wind Ensemble took the stage and performed English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughan Williams. This piece consisted of three different movements; the first and third movements were exhilarating with light and bouncy moods, while the middle movement was soft and relaxing. The Wind Symphony ended their performance with a classic, Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson. This piece had a twist on it because Lyle Moss ‘20 was conducting the piece. After the Wind Ensemble performed, the saxophone ensemble set up in the atrium to play some Christmas carols as parents and students departed.

“It felt amazing to play with my peers at the holiday concert for the first time this school year,” Connie Huang ‘21 said. “I think we did really good and this is just the beginning of something great. Lyle conducted Sleigh Ride really well and I think we all enjoyed performing a lot.”

Overall, the band holiday concert was a huge success with upbeat pieces that entertained the audience, as well as provided a transition into the holiday season. The next band event will be the Band Winter Olympics on Wednesday, Dec. 12, while their next performance will be the Region Jazz Clinic and Concert on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15.