Acalanes Instrumental Students Perform in Virtual Winter Concert

By Emerson Brown and Connor Faust, Opinion Editor and Staff Writer

// In previous years, many Acalanes High School instrumentalists never imagined seeing a recording of themselves on-screen while they watched alone from home for the annual winter concert. 

   Acalanes instrumental students performed in their annual Winter Instrumental Concert via Zoom on Thursday, Dec. 17.

   Typically, the concert consists of the entire ensemble performing pieces together, but this year, due to COVID-19, each student had to send in a video of them playing their part to a click track with Instrumental Music Director Lauren Gibson conducting. Gibson then sent all of the students’ videos to an audio and visual engineer funded by Lafayette Partners in Education (LPIE) to create a virtual ensemble piece. 

   Many instrumentalists found recording at home to have both advantages and disadvantages.

   “It was nice because we could record it multiple times so if you made a mistake you could always redo… At the same time, it was tough because you kind of wanted to make it perfect so they had to keep recording it over and over which is something you don’t have to do when you’re in a concert,” Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band trombonist and sophomore Riley Bonner said. 

   Students also missed the communal nature of instrumental music.

   “Band is just kind of talking to each other, playing, having fun, and when you’re not able to hear other people you’re kind of just playing by yourself in your room and it feels more like you’re just practicing on your own,” Bonner said. 

   Wind Ensemble performed “Alchemy” by Andrew Boysen Jr., Symphonic Band performed “Antares” by Richard Saucedo, Concert Band performed “Sun Cycles” by Brian Balmages the Orchestra performed “Symphony No. 9 Movt. IV” by Dvořák, and the Jazz Band performed Gibraltar by Mike Kamuf with solos by Owen Thomas, George Rogers, and Max Simas. The concert also included a jazz arrangement, a percussion ensemble, and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” performed by some members of the Wind Ensemble.

   “My favorite part of the concert was being able to see all of our musicians playing together. Even in class over Zoom, we rarely hear anyone else playing so the only time we get to hear other classmates is during concerts like these,” Wind Ensemble percussionist and junior Molly Ransdell said. 

   At the end of the concert, Gibson thanked LPIE, the parent volunteers, the instrumental coaches, and the students who made the event possible. 

   “One moment that struck me [from the concert] was when [Gibson] started tearing up. It really shows how much she cares about all of us and the instrumental music program as a whole, and I wouldn’t rather have any other person as my high school band director,” Wind Ensemble bassoonist and junior Autumn Long said. 

   Overall, the concert brought the semester to an end and maintained the annual winter concert tradition. 

   “Music is such something that brings the community together. It provides spirit… it brings us together. Especially during the holiday season and during the end of the semester that for a lot of people hasn’t been easy, having this culminating event for us is a way to celebrate what we have done this semester and… celebrate with everybody,” Gibson said. 

Watch the recap below!

Click here to access the full video.

Leave a Reply