WARREN, NJ - The Concert Band, Orchestra and Wind Ensemble each during their own segments of the Instrumental Winter Concert on Thursday, Dec. 7, at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS), won the hearts of the audience with entertaining and ambitious song selections, remarkable musicianship, and, in the end, a fetching, musical welcome to the 2017 Holiday Season.






The audience seemed to receive the student performances every bit as much as a fun, entertaining concert as it was also a public demonstration of how far these high school students had progressed music education-wise since the start of the school year. Instrumental Music Teacher and Conductor Paul McCullen said some 65 percent of the Concert Band are First Year students.

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The last song of the night, the Wind Ensemble’s performance of Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” yielded a standing ovation and calls from the audience of “More!” That was reminiscent of last year’s Spring Instrumental Concert.McCullen obliged, calling on the Wind Ensemble to play Leroy Anderson’s other most famous arrangement, his iconic composition, “Sleigh Ride.” 

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) review of Christmas music, "Sleigh Ride" consistently ranks as one of the top 10 most-performed songs written by ASCAP members.

The Songs

In the Program Notes for the Instrumental Winter Concert, McCullen writes: “The Concert Band this evening is presenting the lighter works of the concert and perhaps a tune or two you many know. A wonderful short overture, followed by pieces of the season, and closing with a slightly off-holiday movie that is slowly becoming a classic.”

The Concert Band performed: “Westridge Overture,” by James Barnes; “Fortress Variants,” by Elliot Del Borgo, and the twin pieces for the season, “Continental Christmas Suite, by Elliot Del Borgo, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” by Danny Elfman, from the 1993 movie of the same title, written by Tim Burton.

In the Program notes for The Orchestra, McCullen writes: “The Orchestra is pesenting works throughout three periods in classical music, with a wonderfully balanced program of: Aoverture, music of the Renaissance, and closing with another wonderful full length work of the Baroque, highlighting some of our most talented.



The Orchestra performed: “Overture from The Mikado,” by Sir Arthur Sullivan; William Byrd Suite,” by William Byrd; and “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4,” by J.S. Bach. The Orchestra had performed the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3” last year, McCullen said. “Each one is different.” It was the longest piece played at the concert, McCullen pointed out, stretching some 15 or 16 minutes, but throughout the Orchestra’s rendition, one could hear a pin drop in the WHRHS Performing Arts Center. The performance featured three soloists, Carter Rosen, David Ki, and Tiffany Wang. In addition, two student musicians from the Wind Ensemble,  Cherlin Zhu and Lindsey Shi, played flute, and WHRHS Choral Music Teacher Angela DiIorio Bird played harpsicord, using an 88-key electric keyboard , programmed to sound like a harpsicord.

In the Program Notes for the Wind Ensemble, McCullen writes; “The Wind Ensemble will be presenting two featured composers from last year, Dello Joio and Persichetti: along with music of the Renaissance. Additionally some music to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season ahead.”

The Wind Ensemble performed: “The Earl of Oxford’s March,” by William Byrd; “Satiric Dances,” by Norman Dell Joio; “Psalm for Band,” by Vincent Persichetti; “The Eighth Candle,” by Steve Reisteter; and “A Christmas Festival,” followed the encore song, “Sleigh Ride,” both by Leroy Anderson.

The Student Musician

The student musicians in the WHRHS Concert Band are: Oboe, Erica Hwang and Kaitlyn Roth; 

Flute, Jasmine Aiello, Catherine Baker, Sarah Branco, Taylor Burton, Tina Chen, Erika Cheng, Susan Choy, Phillip Ding, Deekshita Gorrepati, Tamara Hadzic, Jenna Hansen, DeepaIrakam, Roopa Irakam, Sephanie Ju, Kathie Liang, Cindy Long, Alanna Margulies, Isha Nagpaul, Tien Nguyen, Maria Shanahan, Zoe Weng, and Maylin Zhu; 

Clarinet, Patrick Alto, Katherine Buser, Ariana Gilligan, Daniel Han, Sarah Jardim, Kristina Lesaca, Nicoletta Koconis, TarunLoganathan, Andre Christopher Meier, Jeremy Shamai, Wesley Tseng, and Justine Wang; Bass Clarinet, Demetrios Gianakis, Achyuta Murli and Paul Zatorski; and

Also Alto Sax, Benjamin Binstock, Seth Calindas, Conner Cheng, Nathan Chon, Tyler Horvath, Zachary Kopelman, Aditya Logariathan, Alexander Martino, Grayson Mejia, Manuel Melo, Ashwin Menon, and Victor Osoliniec.

Tenor Sax, Kyle Merritts, Adam Moszczynski, John Schmitt, Vujay Subramanian, and Michael Waiman; and Baritone Sax, Brynn Mintoto, Dylan Stein, and Marshall White; 

Percussion, Alexander Azarian, Joshua Brinks, Marc Bruno, Marco Clapcich, Christopher Larsen, George Leunes, Michael Motta, Jack Onufer, Eric Petersen, Kobe Tom, Alexander Tortoriello, and Stockton VanWeele.

Trombone, Thomas Barca, Ryan Britten, Martina Lavender, Nicole LoCasio, Jack Remington, Aaron Shieh, JoncarloTautonico and Emily Thompson; Euphonium, Chad Huang, Emma Kotar, Matthew Mandelbaum, Surya Rai, and Elizabeth Samayoa; and Tuba, Benjamin DeGuilo; 

Trumpet, Andrew Cuonzo, Noah Hammer, James Lavender, Miah Manning, Nicholas Maziekien, Lauren McAvoy, Elisabeth Russo, Kathryn Sellinger, Andrew Soliman, Matthew Strona, Cullen Van Skiver, Leo Yan, and Kevin Zu; and Horn, Gavin Chiu, Leah Lavender, Hannah Marszalek, and Ngocthy Nguyen.

The student musicians in the WHRHS Orchestra are: Violin I, Kaleigh Brunner, Catherine Cai, Emma Golkin, Victor Hu, Dave Ki, Jenny Li, Annamaria Newmark, Carter Rosen, Tyler Wu, and Nandini Yellamelli;

Violin II, Rawan Abdelaty, Isabella Bruno, Harrison Lavelle, Annabel Liao, Erin Nielsen, Gabriella Pontoriero, ShruthiRamasamy, Luis Rodrigues, Alyanna Tam, Neha Venkatesh, Luke Viera, and Tiffany Wang;

Viola, Zoe Golkin, Emma Selvin, Jocelyn Wang, Valerie Wang, and Jaime Yue; Bass, Anjali Blow, Benjamin DeGuilo, and Michael Horzepa; Cello, Roshni Dave, Madeline Dietrich, Daria Monti, Spencer Shao, Ariana Stoddard and William Wu.

The student musicians in the WHRHS Wind Ensemble are:

Oboe, Jeremy Cui; Bassoon, Elizabeth Baker and Dania Elsheikh; Piccolo, Iskira Argawal; Flute, Cathleen Luo, Lindsey Shi, Yvonne Tang, Jessica Yan and Cherlin Zhu;

Clarinet, Glen Diamond, John Kolibachuk, Emma Marszalek, William Narayanan, Diana Sarrico, Katie Tan, Alan Wang, Olivia Xu, and Linda Ye; Bass Clarinet, Patrycja Sosniak; Alto Sax, Timothe Iroudayassamy, Sanjay Subramanian, and Brandon Tang; Tenor Sax, Maya Zhang; and Baritone Sax, James Narayanan;

Horn, Hannah Balla, Taylor Hestvik, Andrew McAvoy, and Benjamin Watkins; Trumpet, Peter Bosco, Ryan Branco, Elliot DeGuilo, Carl Peterson, and Matthew Schaefer; Trombone, Jack Horan, Omar Lateef, Alexandria Logan, and Cristina Sarrico; and

Euphonium, Matthew Mandelbaum, and Andrew Muller; Tuba, Ethan Marmolejos; and percussion, Shoili Banerjee, Justin Colman, Brennan Hector, Pramath Kalelkar, and Natalia Sosniak.