M-A’s Musicians Shine at Winter Concert

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On Tuesday, November 28, M-A’s Concert Band, Jazz 2, Jazz 3, and Orchestra performed their Winter Concert.

Highlights from the Concert Band included “Colors of Fall” which opened softly with brass and clarinet. As the flutists joined in, they lended a higher and ethereal melody that created a gorgeous harmony between the trombones, trumpets and flutes. The piece was reminiscent of the air growing colder, as the wind blows leaves through the air. “Colors of Fall” featured Calvin Blankford on trumpet. This melodic piece contrasted beautifully with the following one, called “Radiance.” Music Director William Flaherty highlighted its distinct ⅞ time signature, which structured much more lively phrases. The piece built to an exciting crescendo that synthesized every instrument, the declarative trumpet melody overlying quick, repetitive flute. After playing, freshman Jada Grabal said, “I think tonight went pretty well. I was very happy with how the band sounded. I play the baritone saxophone, and I took band this year because I wanted to try something new – I’m excited to keep playing next year.”

Between bands, Flaherty played KCRW radio. As the musicians transitioned, I had a moment to look around the illuminated theater, and saw the PAC filled with M-A families, students, and teachers. 

Jazz 2 featured three vocalists. Senior Sophie Duda sang a beautiful jazz tune that transported me to a 1950s club. Through the first song, my only thoughts were how beautiful I found Duda’s voice, and how I felt that everyone should have a chance to enjoy M-A’s jazz musicians at least once. The second piece was exciting, featuring trumpet and saxophone solos deserving of flappers dancing around the stage. Jazz 2 had a magical, professional, and energetic quality that transformed the PAC. Freshman Gracie Johnson, sang a slower, dreamier jazz piece. She had a deep, Peggy Lee-esque jazz voice complemented by her silky black dress, red nails, and elegant curls. In Jazz 2’s third piece, Sophomore Emil Freeman had an exciting drum feature. The band played “One Cruel Morning,” a fast-paced song filled with solos. After his solo, freshman Vesta Kassayan said, “This was one of my first times doing an improvised solo at a concert. I thought the beginning was pretty good!” The final Jazz 2 piece was “From the Start” by Laufey, a pop song released in May of this year. Senior Wilona Chen both sang and arranged this piece; there were no existing orchestral arrangements that incorporated every instrument included in Jazz 2, so Chen arranged the parts for every instrument herself. Chen said, “This was my first singing performance on this stage; I’ve been in orchestra for four years, and I’m usually with my violin. For the first time, I was soloing and singing in the center of the stage. It was scary, but I’m pretty happy with how it went.” With a softer sound, “From the Start” was lovely, and highlighted the vocalist. 

Vocalist, Sophie Duda
Vocalist, Wilona Chen

Jazz 3, composed of the most advanced musicians, had two vocalists: Lia Lev and Kealy Bryman. The first piece, “Fiesta Bahia” was lively and involved complex melodies. Seniors Zachary Gosler and Sina Kassayan had fantastic saxophone solos. Next was “So Danco Samba”, translated to “I Only Dance Samba,” sung by Kealy Bryman. The trombone and vocalist shared a similar melody and interplayed gracefully. Bryman had a delightful stage presence, as she roamed about the stage and moved with the music as she sang. 

Vocalist, Kealy Bryman
Vocalist, Gracie Johnson

Finally, the orchestra performed. An amalgamation of all of the orchestral class periods, they performed three pieces: “Jet” by Ilari Hylkila, “Concerto Grosso” by Arc Angelo Corelli, and “Selections from the Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Jet” was the perfect opening piece, with graceful melodies and a dramatic overall tone. The “Selections from the Nutcracker” were nostalgic, bringing smiles to many audience member’s faces and casting a decidedly festive mood over the room. The first part of the piece, titled “March,” highlighted the orchestra’s brass section. The second part of the piece had an exceptionally fast-paced theme. Executed skillfully, it received resounding applause. Regarding her preparation, sophomore Ava Jannink said, “Every week, I play trombone for a few hours outside of school just to practice my pieces and prepare for the concert.” Overall, the orchestra’s beautiful performance reflected their renown and the high caliber of each musician present. 

Jazz Band 3
Electric Guitar, Gaelen Booth

The music program’s Winter Concert was the best way I could imagine to spend my Tuesday evening. I often find myself listening to my recordings of the concert in order to relive the awe and meaningful entertainment I enjoyed. Creative soloists, talented vocalists, and skilled musicians characterize our music program, and I highly recommend that the M-A community take full advantage of each of their performances.

Amala is a senior at M-A, and this is her second year in journalism. She enjoys using journalism to explore education policy and highlight extraordinary individuals in the community. She is also a part of M-A’s Leadership-ASB, and spends her free time at the beach.

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