By Karen Rosenberg and Sarah Westergren, Online Feature and News Editors
// Two musical groups came together in harmony for the Fall Instrumental Concert, showcasing a medley of classical and contemporary pieces performed by Acalanes’ String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.
Student musicians performed the annual exposition in the Acalanes Performing Arts Center on Oct. 19. This year’s concert featured the String Orchestra, previously excluded in years past. The concert displayed both groups’ immense talent to students, friends, and faculty.
Rehearsal for the performance began as early as the first week of school and continued more seriously in the weeks leading to the concert.
“The band is made up of experienced players, so it didn’t take long for us to get back into the swing of things,” band student Jess Fan said, commenting that many of her comrades had played for several years. Fan herself began playing the flute in fourth grade, making this year’s concert her ninth year in band. “One thing we did differently during the class period before the concert was run through our pieces on the stage with all the lights on to get a feel for what the actual performance would be like.”
Members of the band played four songs selected by instructor Norm Dea, each chosen for their difficult nature and challenge to students. Songs included “Be Thou My Vision” and the “Concerto Grosso op. 6 no. 1.”
“I select the songs by choosing things I think the audience would like and music that students would learn from,” Dea said. “We prepare in class and have been rehearsing since the beginning school in two classes and that’s normally how we prepare. Kids also have to prepare themselves obviously by doing their practicing homework.”
Following the concert, many students felt relief knowing their hard work and practice had paid off in class.
“It’s great to show how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time,” senior and band member Michelle Lo said, who’s played for three years at Acalanes. “It’s one night at the start of the year, so both groups work really hard to prepare for the concert. I loved listening to the wind ensemble play because we pretty much only hear them play during concerts.”
For seniors, the concert was an emotional experience. Many felt overcome with sadness, understanding the concert was one of their last performances together.
“It’s sad to think that this is the last year I’ll be able to play with my peers. I feel like band is a lot different people from any other class in the sense that I’ve been playing with most of these people for 4 years now,” Fan said. “There are just certain quirks particular to band friendships that you don’t see in other friendships. It’s pretty special that we’ve all been able to bond over something that we’re passionate about.”
Fortunately for seniors, their last fall concert proved to be a special, not to mention successful, night.
“The seniors have a very large class. They are highly valued, and a lot of talented students will be missed,” Dea said. “We played well. It was a good audience, and it was well received.”