EDITOR'S NOTE: This article, written by a Bridgewater-Raritan High School journalism student, is part of "Prowler in The BReeze" series, which is featured in every edition of The BReeze newspaper. Look for two more articles written by BRHS journalism students in the July/August issue, out later this week.
BRIDGEWATER, NJ - This spring, the Bridgewater-Raritan music programs hosted their spring concerts in May. The programs gave students an opportunity to showcase a wide range of talent cultivated by months of dedicated practice and hard work.
The band’s scintillating performances, conducted by Thomas Bourgault and Nicholas Mossa, were outstanding not in their sheer volume, but in their depth of emotion. The ability to express a colorful array of unspeakable feelings through music, from fiery highs to mournful blues was great.
This concert was the first to feature both a saxophone ensemble and a percussion ensemble, a significant milestone that demonstrates the growth of the high school’s band program. The concert band also featured junior Ryan Feng on the euphonium, who put on a solo performance, and the wind ensemble featured Matt Walley, a professional trombonist from Rutgers University, during a performance of the Harvest concerto.
But for all its euphoric highs, the band’s most emotional moments came pouring from the students’ hearts in “Sleep,” dedicated in loving memory of Frances Wang, a fellow bandmate who passed away earlier this year. Throughout the entire concert, the band clearly placed their heart and soul into their music this spring.
The school’s orchestra program also featured stellar performances from all three groups. Hsiao-Yu Griggs led her students with incredible strength and grace, conducting through the concert from start to finish, and thanking the people who helped her on her journey this year. The ninth-grade orchestra featured violin solos from Samuel Huang and Evelyn Fu, a viola solo from Jeffrey Cheng, a cello solo from Haerin Kim, and a bass solo from David Mead.
While only freshmen, the orchestra was a true testament to the promise of our orchestra’s program, producing a richly vibrant sound, mature beyond their years. The concert orchestra featured Sophie Phan and Nicholas Fomichev, each taking a turn on the piano to perform crowd pleasers like “Voices in the Shadow” and “Fright Night.”
Griggs also dedicated “Impact: Changing Lives through Music” to the retiring middle school orchestra teachers, Joseph Simon and Kimberly Williams, who inspired many of the high schoolers performing that night to continue their musical journey, many years before. In the symphony orchestra, Griggs featured many members of band, who came back another night to perform solos, including Peter Ye on trumpet, Samuel Fang on bass clarinet and Humza Qureshi on trombone. In addition, Griggs featured additional string solos, performed by Jay Quo, Irene Qiao, Anika Nerella and Aaron Lai in a string quartet. The exciting concert marked another successful year for the orchestra program.
I and my peers, as senior members of this high school’s music program, can testify to how much the program has truly evolved since my freshman year. When I signed up for orchestra as a freshman, I was most excited for the new music. But as my fourth year draws to a close, I realize how much I will miss the people and moments, maybe even more than the music itself.
I remember our old director scooping up a centipede that was terrifying students as it crawled its way through the classroom and joking “No free concerts”; I remember bonding over the stress of auditions and practicing violin with a shy underclassman in the back storage room; and just this year, I remember the room going silent with respect when Griggs described to us how music helped her to release the emotions she could never articulate with words.