Orchestra Performs at Winter Concert

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  • The Philharmonic 2 basses flip through their music, looking for the next song to play, as they wait for the applause to die down.

  • Nashitha Azeez ’22 looks up at the conductor, Mr. Anderson, as the group starts to slow down in their music.

  • Concentrating on playing the song well, Anna Beatty ’22 enjoys playing her first violin part that they spent more than a month practicing.

  • The harps prepare to play their own song since harp solos were integrated into the concert with them getting to play after each orchestra.

  • Mr. Thompson eagerly plays the bass, concentrating hard on his music, so that he can be the best bass as possible to fill the void of not having basses in Concert Orchestra.

  • Mr. Anderson faces the audience, thrilled with their excited applause after the Concert orchestra played their first song.

  • Mr. Anderson hands off the bass to Mr. Thompson so that he can conduct while Mr. Thompson plays. This was Mr. Anderson’s first time playing bass publicly, so it was a bit nerve wracking.

  • The room of the church, which had good acoustics, letting the sound ring, was packed with parents excited to see the four orchestras perform.

  • Mr. Thompson starts the concert with the Camerata orchestra, hoping to begin strong to set a precedence for the rest of the concert.

  • Basses Sean Lin ’22 and Claire Johnson ’22 wait in the audience for the concert to start before they can unpack their instrument and head to the stage to play.

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Orchestra performed at their traditional winter concert on Dec. 4 at Hope Presbyterian Church with a series of varied pieces to showcase their artistic capabilities and capture the holiday spirit. The program featured four out of the five orchestra ensembles: Camerata, Concert, and both Philharmonic groups. The orchestras were under the direction of Lead Director Joshua Thompson and Associate Director Justin Anderson.

The Church’s sanctuary was decorated with merry wreaths and the air buzzed with frantic excitement. The orchestra players bustled around, prepping their instruments and practicing as the audience began to fill up the pews. 

“Mr. Anderson has chosen a really fun program,” Caitlin Au ‘20 said. “Tonight I’m excited to showcase the Dvorak [piece] American Rondo which is a good piece and a piece by Glinka.”

Camerata was up first to perform, playing a buoyant and light rhythmic song which reminisced of a Waltz entitled The Bird (Finale from String Quartet op.33,no.3) by Franz Joseph Haydn, which began the night on a high note. The song was followed by two others including If Ye Love Me, an entrancing and beautifully crafted piece that had a nostalgic undertone. After the group concluded their songs, Faith Chan ‘23 and Vincent Reed ‘20 played A Night Long Ago by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, a peaceful and tranquil harp interlude that rung with a sense of melancholy.

“I really loved the music that Philharmonic and Concert played, they were well coordinated and it was definitely apparent that they had practiced well and spent time putting in the extra effort needed to make the performance absolutely amazing,” Hailey Ham ‘22 said.

Up next, the Concert orchestra performed Antique Dances and Airs by Ottorino Respighi which was a tapestry of interwoven crescendos and decrescendos in intricate patterns. Voices in the Shadows by Brian Balmages and Slava!(Glory!) by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov were the two other pieces played by the group, highlighting the group’s talent by playing two contrasting songs. Another Harp piece, Ave Maria (adapted from Prelude no.1 by J.S.Bach) by Charles Gounod was performed by Vivianne Greene ‘20 and Ham, with notes that sounded like glittering stars, twinkling dreamily in the sky.  

“The whole experience was very nerve wracking but overall I was proud of what I did,” Ham said

The first Philharmonic group performed Winter Soliloquy by Francis Feese, a song reminiscent of crisp winter weather with precise and clean notes with a violin solo played by Nirupam Kushalnager ‘22. A third harp interlude I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day by J.B Calkin followed, a flourishing and festive piece performed by Adora Wu ‘21 and Luc Schwalm ‘22. The second Philharmonic ensemble played three masterfully executed pieces including American Rondo from Quartet in F, op.96 by Antonin Dvorak, a rapidly-paced song with complex sections that concluded the night positively.

“I really enjoyed the concert, and I thought all the ensembles’ performances were very polished,” Anna Beatty ‘22 said. “I’m a member of Philharmonic 2nd Block, and we played Sarabande from Grieg’s Holberg Suite. This was my favorite piece because it challenged us as an ensemble to better communicate and blend sound, and the cello and bass quartet was beautiful.”

Symphony orchestra will perform at a “Send Off” concert on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center. The ensemble will play music that they will perform in a concert clinic which has selected three high school orchestra programs from throughout the country to show off their talent in Chicago, Illinois on Dec. 19.

Atina Hartmann