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The Winter Concert: A Music Department Extravaganza

The Symphony Orchestra practicing for the Winter Concert. PC: Miriam Solowey (277)

On Thursday, December 22 at 7 PM, Central will host its Winter Concert, an annual showcase of Central’s amazing musical talents. The concert is a team effort consisting of performances by Central’s jazz band, concert band, symphony orchestra, and choir. Central’s music department has put a tremendous amount of effort into preparing for the concert. The dedication and passion of its students and teachers, who arrive every morning before 7:20 for rehearsals and often dedicate additional time during their lunch hour and after school towards extra practice— all while juggling Central’s rigorous academic workload— epitomizes the school’s core values and foreshadows what will doubtlessly be a spectacular show. And, to add icing to this already succulent cake, tickets are free. (But donations are welcome!)

Many teachers are collaborating to make the Winter Concert a smashing success. Mr. Blazer, the orchestra director, and Mr. Franchetti, the band director, are in charge of making the making the magic happen, but many additional teachers visit once a week to help specific sections of the music department with their pieces. Ms. Parente helps with the upper string, while Mr. Roberts focuses on the lower strings. Mr. Lynch helps out with the brass section, Mr. Chuong with the percussions, and Mr. Frazier with the woodwinds. It takes a lot of work and dedication to put together a concert of this scale in such a short period of time.

As orchestra director, Mr. Blazer not only arrives at Central brights and early to rehearse with his students, but also handles the logistics of the concert. In a concert of not dozens but hundreds of performers, making sure the set is ready and transitions run smoothly is as tricky as it is critical.

Luckily, Mr Blazer has Mr. Franchetti as his right hand man. In describing Mr. Franchetti’s role in the Winter Concert, Winnie Dong (277), who plays the flute in the concert band, explains, “I just know that he works really hard. He has to balance both his classes and his music ensembles and getting to school to rehearse every morning is really tiring,” Winnie continues, “I guess we’re just grateful that he’s willing to do all this extra work in order to give us a chance to perform as musicians.”

Winnie and the other members of the concert band will be playing “A Cambridge Carol”, “Ancient Carol Variants”, “Bring a Torch”, and “Legend”. The concert band rehearses every Monday from 7:20-8:00. I other words, while most Central students are rushing to get out the door on time, the concert band is busy creating a musical masterpiece. They are the epitome of goals.

The spectacular symphony orchestra which consists of seventy-five musicians, also leaves many mouths agape with its breathtaking performances. Siqi Zheng (277), a violinist and an expert on all things string, explains that the string section of the symphony orchestra will be playing “Let It Snow”. They’ll also partner with the wind section to play “Greensleeves”.  The symphony orchestra will also perform “The Christmas Festival” and “Finlandia”.

When asked about her favorite song, Siqi replied, “My favorite song would probably be the “Hallelujah” chorus because it’s the one song where everyone is in it together; it’s a combined piece with the orchestra and the choir. Also, we play the school song every year during the Winter Concert and it is a tradition to ask the alumni at the concert to come up and join us in the piece.”

The choir is also ready to bring its musical A-game. They have been rehearsing since October, and will be singing songs such as “Vivaldi’s Gloria”, “Down to the River”, “Ave Maria (Biebl)”, and Ezekiel Saw the Wheel”.

Audrey McDowell (277), a member of the choir, explains that her favorite part of the Winter Concert is, “sitting back and watching other people perform because they’ve worked really hard and they’re probably up on stage either super proud or super relieved, but either way it’s nice to enjoy.”

Not to be outdone, the jazz band also has some awesome songs planned. Their lineup includes “Absolutely Awesome”, “Queen Bee”, and “Spain”. Their performance is guaranteed to be amazing, especially since they began preparations at the beginning of the school year.

“Everyone in the department has been working very hard and attending daily morning rehearsals. I think that students should come out not only to see their friends but also experience a quality musical performance,” said Jacob Hayman (277), the principal trombone player in the jazz band.

For the seniors, the Winter Concert is especially meaningful. It’s one of their last major performances at Central.

I have performed in the concert for four years, as I joined the orchestra freshmen year. As a senior this year, what I will miss most about the orchestra is the supportive community that I have come to know so well. We treat everyone as family, and there are so many friendships that I have accumulated over my four years at Central,” said Shirly Liu (276), Vice President of the Orchestra, as she reflected on her orchestral career.

Shirly’s sentiments are truly a reflection of the heart and spirit of the music department. Of course, the music department always strives for excellency, but at its core the music department is a family connected by a mutual love of music. The Central community as a whole is an extension of this family and so everyone should come to the Winter Concert on December 22 and show their support for the music department.

Miriam Solowey (277)
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