Band Showcases Talent at Winter Concert

By Sloka Chandrasekaran, Social Media Coordinator

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  • Head Director Thomas Turpin directs Wind Ensemble, otherwise known as first band. Photo courtesy of Ms. Farah Metzger.

  • Penelope Higdon '22 conducts Wind Symphony, or second band, as she was able to raise more than a thousand dollars for March-a-Thon, a band fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Ms. Farah Metzger.

  • Director Brandon Winters welcomes Symphonic Band, or third band, as they get ready to perform their first piece. Photo courtesy of Ms. Farah Metzger.

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Following a very successful marching season, the Westwood Band hosted their annual winter concert on Thursday, Dec. 5 in the Westwood cafeteria. The concert consisted of performances from all four of their concert bands: Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band. Additionally, students got to wear festive Christmas sweaters and elf or Santa hats to get in the holiday spirit.

“I was really excited for the concert because it was my first concert band performance with the Westwood Band,” Rohan Engineer ‘23 said. “The pieces we played are ones that I really enjoyed learning as well.”

The first band to perform was the Concert Band, directed by Head Band Director Thomas Turpin. The first piece they performed consisted of two movements of Highbridge Excursions, movement one entitled Song of the Lake, which involves a British folk-song style, and movement two entitled Festive Dance, which adds a more playful aspect. This piece was composed by Mark Williams. Finishing off their performance, the band played Parade of the Bumbling Wooden Soldiers by David Shaffer, a parody of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers by Harry Connick Jr.. This piece was conducted by the band’s student teacher, Ms. Shelby Mitchell. 

“I think we performed really well tonight,” Nish Porawar ‘23 said. “My favorite piece was Parade of the Bumbling Wooden Soldiers because it had some really cool moments simulating the wooden soldiers with percussion instruments and I think the audience really enjoyed it too.”

The next band to perform was the Symphonic Band, directed by Assistant Band Director Brandon Winters. The first piece they performed was Midnight Sleighride by Tom Wallace, which feature high woodwind sounds and low brass effects, conducted by Ms. Mitchell. Their final piece was entitled Winter on Emerald Bay by Alan Silva, involving an Irish dance style, conducted by Mr. Winters.

“Ms. Mitchell taught and rehearsed Midnight Sleighride with us,” Ayesha Middya ‘20 said. “We had lots of fun having her teach us and we performed amazing tonight, especially given our quick transition from marching season.”

The third band to perform was the Wind Symphony, directed by Associate Band Director Brittany Dacy. The first piece they performed was conducted once again by Ms. Mitchell, and it was entitled The Falls by Rossano Galante, which consisted of strong wind and brass fanfares throughout. Their second piece was the Christmas classic, Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, conducted by Penelope Higdon ‘22, a clarinet player within the band. She was given this opportunity as a thank you for the amount of money she helped raise through one of the band’s fundraisers. The final piece was entitled Holiday Portraits by Sean O’Loughlin, consisting of several of the classic Christmas carols weaved throughout, conducted by Ms. Dacy.

“I had so much fun conducting Sleigh Ride,” Higdon said. “I was really scared I would mess up at first, but once I got up there I felt a lot more confident and had a blast.”

The final band to perform was the Wind Ensemble, directed by Mr. Turpin. The band’s first piece was a full brass ensemble entitled Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare by Richard Strauss, followed by Little Fugue by J.S. Bach, a full woodwind ensemble. This piece was taught and conducted by Ms. Mitchell. The band came back together for their final piece entitled A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, conducted by Mr. Turpin.

“It was really cool to be a part of a brass ensemble this year and have a separate woodwind ensemble as well,” John Kangos ‘21 said. “We’ve never done anything like this before, and I think it really helped keep the audience interested and engaged in our music.”

After all four concert bands performed, the directors presented Ms. Mitchell with a plaque, thanking her for her time this semester and for being an excellent role model to the students over the past few months.

“I always love our winter concerts,” Hart Black ‘21 said. “They get us in the holiday spirit and it’s really cool to perform for our friends and family. I think today was really successful for all the bands. It was really fun to hear so much variety in all the pieces, and it was a great start to the holiday season.”