Jul 30, 2014

MHS Musings: School Bands Present Spring Concert

The concert featured all MHS band students

The Millburn High School concert bands and wind ensemble concluded a busy year of music on a high note.

Last Wednesday night, May 23, the bands, under direction of Matt Spatz and Mindy Scheierman, presented their annual Spring Concert to family, friends, and members of the community. The theme of this year's concert was "Folk Songs from Around the World". Songs from many different cultures, countries, and eras were performed.

The Concert Band, the freshman ensemble who rehearse with Spatz, performed first. Their program began with "Prairie Schooner" and continued with "Rhythm Stand", and "A Little French Suite". Their program closed with a fun march, "March of the Sun Dried Tomatoes". Spatz commented that this march was "the woeful tale of a day in the kitchen with a recipe that called for, among other things, sun dried tomatoes, fish broth and red wine".

Among the students in the Concert Band, many are distinguished for their personal musical achievements. Clarinetist Alex Brod performed with the NJ All-State Band. Brod and saxophonist Louis Danowsky performed with the All-North Jersey Region I high school band. Danowsky also performed with the All-North Jersey Region I Chamber Ensembles. Danowsky, percussionist Griffin Schwab, and clarinetists Andrew Tham and Max Kanef performed with the All-North Jersey Region I junior band.

The MHS Wind Ensemble is a select band consisting of accelerated band students (and exceptional students across the board) who rehearse with Scheierman during regular-scheduled class periods multiple times per week, and on scheduled evenings. Many of the wind ensemble performers are involved in honors ensembles.

On Wednesday night, the Wind Ensemble performed Percy Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy", which, according to Scheierman, is a staple for all wind ensembles. The piece consists of six movements, and the MHS ensemble performed the first (Sailor's Song), the second (The Miser and his Man: A local Tragedy), the fourth (The Brisk Young Sailor who returned to wed his True Love), and the sixth (The Lost Lady Found). They also performed Rimsky-Korsakov's "Concerto", featuring euphonist and student director, senior Catherine Budish.

The sophomores, juniors and seniors that are involved in the band program are equally distributed into two symphonic bands that rehearse daily with Scheierman. The Symphonic Band Blue (which rehearses during sixth period) performed "The Lion of Lucerne" (inspired by the Swiss monument), "Postcard from Singapore" (which consisted of three exhilerating movements), "British Waterside (The Jolly Sailor)", the Grainger-arranged folk aria usually performed by soprano. They closed with the "George Washington Bicentennial March", Sousa's march that commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of our first president. In 1932, Sousa's next to last public appearance, he conducted the combined bands of the US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as Scheierman explained to the audience.

Among the students in the sixth period band is clarinetist Upas Narayan, who performed with the NAFME All-National Honor Band. Narayan; fellow clarinetists Tackin Tarighian, Maurice Wong, and James Yoon; flautist Amanda Kam; and tuba Matt Wolffe performed with the NJ All-State Band. Kam, Narayan, Tarighian, Yoon, Wong, fellow clarinetist Andrew Brod, saxophonist Spencer Hirschfeld, and Wolffe performed with the All North Jersey Region I High School band. Kam and Hirschfeld also performed with the Region chamber ensembles.

The Symphonic Band White (which rehearses during seventh period) performed "Three Folk Miniatures", Vaughan Williams' "Linden Lea", a "Latin Folk Trilogy", and "Sedona", which evoked imagery of Arizona's lush desert and featured sophomore clarinetist Lily Blumkin.

Many members of the Symphonic Band White have been featured in select ensembles. Jacob Choi was selected to perform with the NAFME All-National Honor Band. Percussionist Rahul Gangan performed with the NJ All-State Band. Gangan, fellow percussionist Josh Kimelman, tuba Manav Ramesh, euphonist Catherine Budish, saxophonist Brian Huang, Choi, bassoonist Will Krinsman, and oboist Elyse Kuo performed with the All-North Jersey Region I high school band.

Scheierman honored the forty-two graduating seniors during the symphonic bands' performances: they are flautists Julie Chang, Rachel Lowe, Camille Malonzo, Tahra Anglade, Chandler Wald, Olesia Bilash, and Kirill Limanov; clarinetists Upas Narayan, Tackin Tarighian, Matt Hepworth, David Wang, Brandon Hamilton, and Ben Finkelstein; bassoonist Will Krinsman; saxophonists Spencer Hirschfeld, Ben Rauch, Irene Hoxie, Evan Metsky, Michael Harmon, Mac Johnson, Jordan Lassiter, and Dany Sonnabend; trumpeters Drew Adler, Tom Matthews, Joe Wang, Drew Rosenberg, Ben Denson, and Blake Udland; french horn Gabe Gordon; trombonists Matt Soloway, Jake Kaufman, and Rich Koppenaal; euphonist Catherine Budish; tubas Jamie Berger and Manav Ramesh; and percussionists Henry Chapman, Nick Deguines, Aidan Kahn, Michael Marcketta, Eric Hertz, Tyler Holmes, and Jared Wishnow.

The concert attracted a crowd that filled the auditorium and was a huge success.

While the bands have completed their "concert tour" for the year, there are still more performances to go. The MHS orchestras and choruses play their highly-anticipated concert on June 7 (where the commissioned piece "Harmony in Gold" will have its world premiere).

You can see the accelerated band students perform tomorrow morning at the Memorial Day Parade, and again at the graduation ceremony on June 18.

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