M-A’s Winter Concert Features Band and Orchestra

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On Friday, December 2, M-A’s Band and Orchestra performed their first-semester repertoires, which ranged from classical music to jazz, in the PAC led by Music Director Kent Kurrus. The event featured students in Concert Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band II, a jazz combo, and Jazz Band III.

Concert Band kicked off the night with “Overture to The Marriage of Figaro,” by Mozart, arranged by Slocum; “Jackson Lake Overture,” by Mark Williams; and the third movement of “Prelude, Siciliano & Rondo” by Arnold, arranged by Paynter.

Senior Angie Yang has been playing the saxophone since fifth grade and is now the first chair alto saxophone for M-A’s Concert Band. Reflecting on the performance, Yang stated, “I think we were pretty prepared, and we played to our best ability.” Yang added that her personal favorite song, “Jackson Lake Overture,” went very well at the concert.

Orchestra violinists Nathalie Camens, Kayna Morishita, Joey Lohmann, and Julia Marks after the concert (from left to right).
Orchestra violinists Nathalie Camens, Kayna Morishita, Joey Lohmann, and Julia Marks after the concert (from left to right).

Kayna Morishita, a ten-year violinist, is the concert mistress of M-A’s Orchestra, meaning she leads the strings in rehearsals and concerts. Morishita loves playing violin because it “sounds really good when you play with the whole orchestra.” At the concert, the orchestra performed all three phenomenally.

After a brief intermission, the three jazz groups performed, starting with Jazz II featuring the songs “Bye Bye Blackbird,” by Henderson, arranged by Berg; “Cute,” by Hefti, arranged by Story; “Night in Tunisia,” by Gillespie, arranged by Sweeney; and “Back Burner,” by Carmine Pastore.

Sajel Galhotra, a junior, has contributed to the M-A music program since freshman year in Concert Band, Jazz Band I and Jazz Band II. This year, Galhotra plays as the first tenor saxophone in Jazz Band II and played her first improvised solo at the concert. She stated, “I felt the performance went well. Some of the things we were struggling with in practice didn’t show through… I think everyone had a lot of fun, which makes it a success in itself.” About her solo, Galhotra continued, “This was my first improvised solo, and considering that, I am proud of how it went.”

Cricket Gorey, the first flute for Jazz II, agreed the performance went well for the group. She shared, “My favorite part of band is finally seeing a piece come together after the whole band works on it. It’s satisfying to know that your work pays off.” The hard work of Jazz II was evident Friday night with the phenomenal performance that truly highlighted the mastery of the songs.

The jazz combo playing "Food for Last," Liu's composition.
The jazz combo playing “Food for Last,” Liu’s composition.

Following Jazz II was a jazz combo that features Liu (piano), Chris Iyer (trumpet), Alex Oesterling (guitar), Callum Burgess (drums), Lance Onodera (bass), Shane Turner (piano), Michael Sze (violin), Nikita Manin (tenor saxophone), and Selim Karahan (alto saxophone). The group played “Food for Last,” a tango written by Liu, and “Dear John” by Freddie Hubbard.

Iyer and Karahan shared that the combo started as a small group from Jazz Band III in 2014 and has grown to become the current group of nine. In addition to winning first place at the Delta Jazz Festival in 2015, the combo has performed at the Reno Jazz Festival and the Folsom Jazz Festival. Just last Saturday, December 3, the jazz combo won first place again at the Delta Jazz Festival 2016. Both Iyer and Karahan agreed that the performance Friday night was a success overall.

Selim Karahan playing a solo on the alto saxophone for the jazz combo.
Selim Karahan playing a solo on the alto saxophone for the jazz combo.

After the combo’s performance, Jazz Band III finished off the night with “Lunacity,” by Paul Baker; “Embraceable You,” by Gershwin, arranged by Wolpe; “Lover Come Back to Me,” by Romberg, arranged by Taylor; and “El Abrazo,” by Alan Baylock. Dianna Gruber was featured as the vocalist in the second and third songs. Jazz Band III’s successes were not only seen in the concert Friday night, but also in the awards the band has received; last year, the group won second place at the Delta Jazz Festival 2015 and first at the Delta Jazz Festival 2016 Saturday, December 3.

Iyer, the second chair trumpet for Jazz III, said his personal favorite song was “El Abrazo;” the song featured juniors Nikita Manin on the tenor saxophone and Shane Turner on the piano, and ended the night of music.

If you missed out on the concert, be sure to go to the Big Band Dance this January to support our amazing music programs!

My name is Alex Chang, and I'm a junior at M-A. As a first year journalist, I am excited to develop my writing and communication skills. Outside of school, I am very passionate about my faith and community service. This past year, I had the opportunity to go on service trips to the Bahamas, Guatemala and Mexicali. I also enjoy playing piano and participating on the debate team. I am looking forward to writing features and opinions for the Chronicle!

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