By Juliet Becker, Online Feature Editor
// Throughout distance learning, Acalanes High School’s Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Choir could not perform in a traditional setting due to COVID-19 guidelines. For the first time since the 2019-2020 school year, musicians brought the crowd to their feet in applause on Thursday.
Members of Acalanes’ musical ensembles performed several popular pieces in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Oct. 21 during the annual Pops Concert, with parents, students, and staff in attendance.
The program included Symphonic Band’s performance of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme, Jazz Ensemble’s performance of the “Incredibles” theme, Wind Ensemble and Choir’s performance of “Baba Yetu”, Choir’s performance of “I see the Light” from “Tangled”, Orchestra’s performance of “Kingdom Dance” from “Tangled” and “Fright Night”, and Symphonic Band’s performance of the “Jurassic Park” theme.
The performance was the first traditional concert in the PAC since the beginning of the pandemic, making it both meaningful and refreshing to those who organized it.
“I have to say, the crowd energy was amazing to have it be the first concert back … and then 18 months since we’ve been on stage and 18 months since we got to play for our live audience in the PAC with our new lights and everything. Just having that all come together and then having so much community support from both our families and also from all the students that came [felt great],” Instrumental Music Director and Choral Director Lauren Gibson said.
Throughout the concert, attendees could sense the musicians’ eagerness to perform live again.
“It was very obvious that people were excited to be back and in live performance. I’m sure the performing arts have been looking forward to this for a while. The whole point of being in performing arts is to perform, and when you can’t perform to a live audience, I’m sure that is not ideal,” math teacher Ken Lorge said.
In preparation for the concert, the musicians practiced for months to perfect their pieces, and the performers enjoyed when the musical ensembles came together to play the pieces.
“The first joint rehearsals with Orchestra and Band are definitely the best parts of making the whole concert. It’s so cool when you get to hear how everything meshes together for the first time. It gives me chills,” Concertmaster and senior Katrina Ortman said.
The concert also showcased the new lighting system around the stage in the PAC. Throughout the show, the lighting crew used different visual effects for each performance, such as orange lighting during String Orchestra’s “Fright Night” and red lighting during Jazz Ensemble’s “Incredibles”. Additionally, during Symphonic Band’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Jurassic Park”, the crew projected the respective films onto the back curtain.
Students from different extracurriculars on campus attended the concert as part of an ongoing effort to have students support each other at school events.
“I hope people from different sports and groups on campus continue to show up for each other because it allows different talents and abilities to be highlighted on campus. It is so great to see many different sports teams and Leadership showing up for performing arts,” sophomore Kai Echeverria said.
Many musicians appreciated having a wide variety of their peers attend the concert.
“All the students were so excited to have their peers and friends there and that energy goes both ways. We can feel it on stage, and to have that coming at us and to be able to get to play and send that energy right back was so much fun,” Gibson said.
Overall, many attendees enjoyed the concert and look forward to future performances.
“I had such a blast at the Pops Concert, and I think everyone should go [to other concerts] in the future. I really hope that everyone can notice how hard the music department works and how awesome their work pays off. I think all Dons should show up and show them some love,” sophomore Ava Bunton said.