SOUTH PLAINFIELD - The South Plainfield High School Music Department held their Annual Winter Concert on December 5th featuring the school’s Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Chamber Choir, Orchestra and Concert Band.
“The music students come to school earlier to rehearse from 7:11-7:55 every morning!” said Dr. Donna M. Kregler, Director of Choral Activities. “They are dedicated individuals that have a great work ethic and continue to learn more and more about self-discipline. All the music students perform together on stage that are in the classes.”
The Jazz Band opened the concert with the fast-paced “A Chili Pepper Christmas,” adding an upbeat samba style to familiar Christmas favorites. Then Senior Chloe Wilson and Junior Jake Rivera took their places at the microphone to wow the audience with the popular 1944 duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The Jazz Band ended their portion with a nostalgic jog down Memory Lane with the “Theme Song to Sesame Street.”
“The kids worked really hard on the music and I think they did a really nice job,” said Band Director William Haughwout.
The lights suddenly dimmed and the voices of the Concert Choir’s ninety-three students filled the air as they entered the auditorium carrying candles and singing “Adeste Fideles.”
“The newest part of the concert that will hopefully be a new tradition, was the candlelight processional,” said Kregler. “I always wanted to have the students perform “Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)” in Latin with the lights dim like that. It has been a vision of mine for the past several years. When we had the funds to purchase the candles at the end of the year I couldn't wait.”
“‘Adeste Fideles’ was definitely my favorite Concert Choir song because of the structure of walking through the audience,” said Junior Gabriella Lippel. “I have been singing since about third grade and joining high school choir has opened a whole new world of opportunity and musical knowledge to me. I started singing because it seemed like a fun activity to be a part of, and now I sing simply because it brings me overwhelming happiness and can bring me joy no matter how bad of a mood I am in.”
The choir continued singing several selections, such as “Dirait-On,” “Ki Mi Tziyon,” and “Omnia Sol.” Their angelic voices soared up and down the scales. Before they ended their portion of the evening, Dr. Kregler invited alumni and friends in the audience to join the choir onstage to sing “Hallelujah Chorus.” The Concert Choir finished with a triumphant close.
Then it was time for the Chamber Choir to take the stage. The group of forty-two students had to audition and were specially selected for their place in the choir. Among their selections, the students sang “O Magnum Mysterium" and the harmonious “Flower of Beauty.”
“One of my favorite performances this year was ‘Flower of Beauty’ by John Clements,” said Senior MaKayla Sosa. “This song was my favorite to perform because of the blend and movement of the piece. The tone was passionate and innocent. Just a very beautiful piece overall. I loved this piece so much that I chose it for my college choir audition!”
The Orchestra then had their turn in the spotlight and, lifting their bows, they began. With quick strokes and beautiful tones, they swept the audience away with songs like “Libertango" and J.S. Bach’s “Badinerie From Orchestral Suite No. 2.” They also included the special “Holiday Salute,” a medley of holiday favorites, and ended with the soaring melody of “Dance of the Tumblers from Snow Maiden.”
“The concert was incredible,” said Orchestra Director Diane Lee. “Students performed exceeding my expectations. They were extremely focused and it was a phenomenal experience for my students and myself.”
The Concert Band then took to their places for the final portion of the performance, under the direction of William Haughwout. As fingers flew down, up and over instruments, the Concert Band performed with professional grace and poise, playing the melodious ballad “Farandole,” and “The Eighth Candle,” a tribute to the celebration of Hanukkah.
For the concert’s finale, the Concert Band played the popular Christmas favorite, “Sleigh Ride.” Complete with realistic sound effects of sleigh bells and horsewhips, the Concert Band left the audience aglow with the joy of the holidays.
“Students come in at 7:11am everyday, some students even stayed after school to practice,” added Lee. “I was very happy to see that all their dedication and hard work was portrayed for the night.”
“This year was my last winter concert in high school and it was very surreal,” said Senior MaKayla Sosa. “I have been in choir since the fifth grade and I always wondered why I didn’t join sooner. I love performing with other people that carry so much passion in the music. I felt a little emotional knowing that I will have only two more concerts left with my Chamber Choir members.”
“All of the music ensembles, the Jazz band, the Concert Choir, the Chamber Choir, the Orchestra, and the Concert Band all did a phenomenal job!” said Kregler.
The Music Department asks that everyone mark their calendars for the Annual District Music Festival that will take place on March 1st at 6pm. The event will showcase the talents of all South Plainfield School District music students from fifth through twelfth grades.