Orchestra Amplifies Holiday Ambience at Winter Concert Performance

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  • Diligently reading his music, Advaith Rajesh ’25 performs alongside the cello section. The Concert Orchestra played a variety of selections over the course of their portion of the concert.

  • In sync with his section, Sean Xue ’23 performs ‘Allegro Barbaro’ by Bela Bartok and arranged by Bob Lipton. Well-executed dynamic changes elevated the flow and progression of the piece.

  • Glancing upwards, orchestra director Mr. Joshua Thompson cues the first violin section of the Concert Orchestra. Performing ‘Furiant’ by Elliot Del Borgo, lush melodic lines embellished lively rhythmic passages within the low strings.

  • Re-adjusting her bow, Lori Chen ’22 prepares to play in the pizzicato section of ‘Point Lookout’ by Brian Balmages. The piece, a tribute to the rich history of Fort Lincoln during the American Civil War, features several recognizable themes.

  • Cellists Henry Kam ’24 and Ben Schuler ’25 play in unison, attentively projecting certain portions of ‘Point Lookout,’ where low strings are prominent. The Philharmonic 2nd Block Orchestra played a total of three selections.

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On Tuesday, Dec. 7th at 7:00 PM, the Westwood Philharmonic, Concert, and Camerata orchestras concluded the fall semester with their Winter concert performance, held at Hope Presbyterian Church. 

The repertoire performed included classical works by various composers, including the celebrated Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, played by the Philharmonic Fourth Block Orchestra, the first movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3., played by the Concert Orchestra, and the Intermezzo Sinfonico by Italian opera composer Pietro Mascagni, performed by the Camerata Orchestra. The Philharmonic Second Block Orchestra’s repertoire included an orchestral arrangement of the Allegro Barbaro by Bartók, originally composed for solo piano. 

The Philharmonic 4th Block Orchestra also showcased the memorable composition An Empty Place by Linda Tutas Haugen, which was part of a series of pieces that had originally been composed for the National Kidney Foundation in 2004 to honor the experiences of people receiving organ transplants, as well as to encourage organ donation. The piece expressed darker emotions to the audience through its impassioned melodies, highlighted by an interchanging violin solo played by Dohyun Kim ‘22, Casey Davey ‘23, and Eric Gong ’25.

“Since the piece is called An Empty Place, I wanted to find those empty places inside me, and express that,” Davey said. “It’s kind of different when you play a solo, because you have to think about being important in the solo and make sure you prepare really well. You switch from that thinking of ‘I need to play out and play big.’” 

Overall, the performance, along with the previous week’s Masterworks concert by the Symphony orchestra, truly encapsulated the progress of the program over the last semester. 

In the spring, all five orchestras will be returning with new performances, including collaborations with the band program, for the annual UIL competition. The UIL Preview Concert will be held on Thursday, Feb. 24th at the RRISD Performing Arts Center.