By Sophia Kim
North hosted its 2022 Spring Concert for band and orchestra on Tuesday, May 24, at 7:00pm. The concert yielded a large turnout; many families and friends came to support the musicians. A QR code was available to be scanned to conveniently view the concert program on mobile devices.
One of the highlights of the concert was the chamber orchestra’s performance of the finale of Dvořák’s famous American Quartet. Conducted by North Orchestra Director Mr. Crooke, the musicians demonstrated the vivacity and freshness of Dvořák’s work, making the changes in color throughout the movement apparent. The viola and cello sections in particular demonstrated great ensemble playing, providing a resonant and lively foundation for the music.
Senior trombone player AJ Fiore conducted the symphonic band’s second piece, “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. According to North Band Director Mr. Bishop, Fiore had requested to conduct a piece in the concert, and had chosen “Nimrod” himself, which radiated a majestic character. The ensemble’s subsequent performance of “Rush'' by Samuel Hazo produced an exhilarating atmosphere through exciting percussion.
After a brief intermission, the orchestra performed the first movement of Bach’s vibrant Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. The piece also exuded a stately spirit, with grounded support provided by the bass.
A marching band favorite, the Star Wars Medley was a highlight of the concert. According to Mr. Bishop, the band performed an arrangement very similar to the original Star Wars score. Many of the musicians in the band could be seen nodding their heads to the beat of the piece and clearly played with passion and excitement. The various sections of the band collectively produced a rich, full, and powerful sound that brought out the beautiful melodies of the medley. The performance called attention to the score’s shifts between strong, commanding voices and moments of beauty and warmth.
Following the classic pick, “Variations on an African Hymnsong” offered an invigorating assortment of textures and rhythms that made it one of my favorite selections of the night.
The marching band concluded their section of the concert with selections from Disney’s 2016 animated film, Moana. According to Mr. Bishop, the band performed selections from the movie’s soundtrack as a tribute to the current seniors’ trip to Hawaii in their freshman year. Mr. Bishop stated that the marching band is also planning to play a medley of songs from Moana at North’s 2022 graduation ceremony. The performance included excerpts of songs such as “How Far I’ll Go,” “You’re Welcome,” and “Where You Are.” The arrangement effectively embodied the island-feel of the movie.
North’s 2022 Band and Orchestra Spring Concert presented pieces of diverse time periods, cultures, and forms. The performances demonstrated the history that music preserves (1812 Overture, American Quartet), the power that music has to touch and inspire (Star Wars, Moana), and the way in which music so closely reflects the stories and cultures of the world (Variations on an African Hymnsong, Shenandoah).
It was clear that the North musicians enjoyed the opportunity to speak and share stories through their instruments; their hard work and passion radiated through this culminating performance. I encourage everyone, musician or not, to attend future concerts or even get involved in the North Music Department. Music is a powerful tool that speaks many languages and can change the lives of both artist and listener.