RANDOLPH, NJ-- Approximately 200 high school musicians from band, orchestra, and choir enthralled a full house at their annual holiday concerts 1 and 2, held in the Randolph High School Auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 13, and Monday, Dec. 17.
Holiday Concert 1, held on Dec. 13, opened with selections played by the Symphonic Orchestra. This ensemble, conducted by orchestra director Eric Schaberg, combines orchestra and students from various bands, They played pieces including “Christmas Rocks at the Pops” by Ralph Ford and “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss.
The String Orchestra followed, also conducted by Mr. Schaberg. This ensemble played selections like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” arranged by Larry Moore and “A Solidarity Wish” by Brian Balmages.
The concert continued with the Chamber Strings and Arietta, both of which are audition based ensembles. The Chamber Strings group delighted the audience when playing “Symphony #25 First Movement” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Arietta performed next and featured violin soloist Yuri Lin in the piece “Bruch Violin Concerto” composed by Max Bruch.
To close out Holiday Concert 1, Wind Ensemble, the highest-level of the three bands, performed. The band featured students from all four grades and was directed by Dawn Russo, head of the band department.
“It was a great experience because we get to have fun while playing festive music,” said Tommy Yager, a senior in the Wind Ensemble, recalling the annual holiday concert.
“I enjoyed the Wind Ensemble literature and closing the concert with Sleigh Ride,” Mrs. Russo added, alluding to Leroy Anderson’s popular tune.
The music department hosted Holiday Concert 2 on Monday, Dec. 17. The concert began with the Chamber Choir, another audition-based choir, directed by choir director Matthew Swiss. One piece they performed was “Veni, Veni Emmanuel,” arranged by Michael John Trotta.
The chamber choir was followed by the debut of Dectet, a newly formed choir that features ten singers with eight different parts who create various harmonies. The colorful chords spread throughout the room. Those who came had the privilege of listening to their pieces including “Past Three O’Clock” arranged by Cary Ratcliff.
“I enjoyed having the opportunity to sing alongside professional musicians,” said Celine Panis-Pardo, a senior choir member.
Later in the concert, the Concert Choir and Treble Choir performed a twenty-two minute piece titled “Carols and Lullabies” composed by Conrad Susa.
The Concert Band performed “C'est Noël (It Is Christmas!): A French Canadian Yuletide Celebration” an upbeat tune laced with popular Christmas songs composed by Andre Jutras. Michael Lichtenfeld, the director of the Concert Band, which followed the choirs, expressed his enthusiasm: “I am so proud of all of the students. Their hard work and performances made the music that they performed spread holiday cheer.”
The Symphonic Winds, directed by Diana May, was conducted by Dawn Russo. They performed “A Hanukkah Festival” by the composer, Chris Bernotas. It was a delightful selection combining various Hanukkah tunes to close off the concert.
Additional Pieces Performed:
Symphonic Orchestra--“Jupiter–Bringer Of Jollity” by Gustav Holst
String Orchestra--“Jigtastic” arranged by Steven Frackenpohl
Chamber Strings--“Greensleeves Variations” by Richard Stephan and “Scenes from The Emerald Isle” arranged by Carrie Lane Gruselle
Arietta--“The Menorah” by Ron Castonguay and “Suite for Strings Movement 1” by Frank Bridge
Wind Ensemble--“A Chanukah Celebration” arranged by David Bobrowitz and “Red Rock Mountain” by Rossano Galante
Chamber Choir--”The Winter’s Night” by Nicholas Myers
Dectet--“Rorate Caeli” by Michael Joncas
Concert Band--“Hanukkah Highlights” arranged by Chris Sharp
Symphonic Winds--“Joy Revisited” by Frank Ticheli
Editor's Note: Meghan Dunne and Emma Nessel are students at Randolph High School participating in a journalism program with Tapinto Randolph.