Music department hosts winter concert


Music department hosts winter concert

On Dec. 1, the music department held its winter concert after school in the auditorium. Directed by band director Michael Ganus, strings director Julia Kim, and choir director Lesley Scott, there were a total of eight performances. 

Due to the pandemic, the spring concert earlier this year was held virtually via video recordings. Loosened COVID-19 protocols allowed for the winter concert to be in-person, and the auditorium was filled with parents, teachers, and students. 

Advanced Band opened the concert with the three pieces they practiced from the beginning of the semester: “Scramble,” “Merry-Go Round,” and “Fantasy on Deck the Hall.” High School Strings performed next, featuring solo violinists John Kim (11) and Subeen Shim (9) in their second song “Bailes Para Orquesta.”

“The moment I heard the piece ‘Bailes Para Orquesta’, I immediately fell in love with its powerful and humoristic tone,” Subeen said. “There was an audition for solo violin 1 and violin 2 open to all strings students at the start of the year, so I tried out and got the part. During the performance, I felt musically connected with myself, my duet partner, and the strings members.” 

Concert Choir prepared three Christmas songs in order of “At Christmas,” “Last Christmas,” and “It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Soprano Lina Hwang (11) and bass singer Terry Seong (10) were soloists of “Last Christmas.” Men’s Choir gave a sensational performance with their song “The Wellerman,” where Jack Lee (12) played the cajon box hand drum and members danced their prepared choreography.

For the first time since 2019, choir members were permitted to take their mask off while performing. 

“Ms. Scott suggested I do a solo part and thankfully, all the other members agreed,” Philip Kim (12), Men’s Choir soloist, said. “We were particularly excited to perform without our masks on since our audience would be able to hear us better. I believe this motivated us to practice even more, which we did during office hours, activity period, and even after school.”

Student-directed club Blue Note Jazz Ensemble ended the first half of the concert with “Runaway Baby” and “Shallow.”  

After the intermission, Ladies Choir sang the songs “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Christmas (Baby please come home),” and “Where are you, Christmas?” with their accompanist Nuri Oh. Six soloists—seniors Rachel Yoon and Eunie Choi, juniors Anna Piscioneri and Claire Kang, and sophomores Sophia Lim and Chelsea Kim—performed over the span of the 3 pieces. 

In the following Wind Ensemble performance, they played a Korean folk song from Jeju Island “Yi-yah hong” as their second piece, garnering soft laughter and recognition from some parents. Along with trombone soloist Eric Kim (12), Wind Ensemble concluded with “The Best Christmas Ever.” 

“Previously, we mostly played western pieces,” Seungkyu Han (12), Wind Ensemble student, said. “Getting to play a Korean folk song was new to all of us. A few months ago when Mr. Ganus went to Jeju KIS for a conference, he received feedback from native Jejudo music teachers. We made many stylistic changes to our playing, and I believe this is what made this year’s performance particularly special.”

Ambassadors engaged the audience into the Christmas spirit once again through their performance of “Carol of the Bells,” “White Christmas,” and “Mary Did You Know.” The concert came to an end with the High School Orchestra’s (HSO) performance of “Procession of the Nobles” and “Roman Carnival Overture.”  

“All of us really enjoyed the Christmas songs Ms. Scott chose this year,” Anna said. “The harmonies in all of the songs sounded really delicate, and the beatboxing in our last piece added a really unique effect.”

All groups delivered a heartfelt performance to an audience equally eager to experience an in-person concert, reflecting the music department’s significant dedication and effort throughout the whole semester. 

“Preparing for the winter concert was a challenging and joyous experience at the same time,” Aiden Lee (11), Strings and HSO member, said. “I believe this was a great ending to our first semester, and I hope that everyone had a memorable evening as much as I did.”