December 19, 2013 at 6:35 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ – “In Livingston, music is vital and important—music gives pleasure in life,” said Heritage Middle School Principal Pat Boland when opening the Annual Winter Concert on Wednesday.
Directed by Michael Miskiv, the seventh-grade concert band, comprising many students who have been playing for three or four years, was the first group to perform. The 66-member band played in sync, following the director, and staying in tune and in time for the majority of their pieces.
The percussion section kept tempo and used a wide variety of instruments throughout each song. The woodwinds showed an understanding of the flow of the music and where to breathe during each song. Although it was difficult to play over many woodwinds, the brass section provided a solid base for the rest of the band.
“We did pretty well,” said seventh-grader Thomas Bargoud, a trumpet player in the band. “We had lots of practice.”
The eighth-grade concert band, directed by Dan Traglia, continued the concert by playing four songs. The director and some students took turns introducing these songs. Before one song, a student told the audience that it was a favorite song to play, “because the band had so much fun with it.” The audience showed it agreed by enthusiastically joining in with the clapping parts in the middle of the song.
The 65-member eighth-grade band played slightly more challenging songs than the group that went first, and the crowd responded accordingly. The brass played complimentary countermelodies to the woodwind melodies. The percussionists stood out in a few of the songs and were supplemented a few times by other members of the band.
After the concert bands, the seventh-grade jazz band played. The soloists were melodious, and the whole band showed an understanding of the differences between the styles of music they were playing throughout the night. They enjoyed themselves, and the audience responded to their zeal by clapping along when the director started the music.
The eighth-grade jazz band ended the concert by playing a new song and two standards from Livingston Jazz Concerts. The soloists, like the seventh-graders, were harmonious and well prepared. During “Chameleon,” Traglia, wore a hat that said “Dr. Funk.” He said that the students had insisted he wear it. The night concluded with “Louie, Louie,” where soloists flew through their turns to keep up with the quick tempo.
“It was awesome, said attendee Jeff Faber, after the concert. “The kids did a great job. I didn’t expect to be rocking out, but I did just that.”