By Grace Wang (III)
During the week before Thanksgiving break, four of the school’s musical groups performed in this year’s Ensembles Concert. The concert consisted of the strings ensemble, the Buttondowns, the Balladeers, and the jazz band.
The concert took place in a transformed senior area, where the senior couches were replaced with chairs and benches for the audience. Faculty, friends, and family stood and sat from the library balconies all the way down to the senior area.
The strings ensemble set the tone for the concert, beginning with “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar with strings teacher Ms. Vera Izano playing alongside her middle and high school students. A few select students performed Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 4, namely, Rebecca Lin (VI) and Felicia Ho (V) on the violin, Ethan Chung (VI) on the cello, and Ms. Izano and Jessica Li (VI) on the viola. The strings ensemble then finished off their performance with an arrangement of Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms, with Head of the Music Department Dr. Andrew Moore accompanying on the piano.
The strings ensemble was followed by a combined performance by the Balladeers and the Buttondowns. The two groups joined to sing a moving rendition of “Over the Rainbow” arranged by Mark Hayes and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” arranged by Kirby Shaw.
The Balladeers continued the performance, wearing their signature black dresses and purple sashes around their waists. The Balladeers’ performance was coordinated by music teacher Mr. Jay Winston. The a cappella group arranged themselves in a semi-circle and sang “The Sound of Silence” arranged by Balladeers president Maya Huffman (VI). Ashana Makhija (IV) sang the starting solo, and Nicole Gilbert (IV), Isabel Devito (V), and Anna Wood (VI) joined in with their own solos throughout the song. The Balladeers then sang “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre and ended with “Fireflies,” also arranged by Maya Huffman, with soloist Nina Srikanth (IV).
Following the Balladeers, the Buttondowns continued the concert with the traditional Korean folk song “Arirang,” arranged by Brad Printz, with guest soloist Alyssa Chen (VI) on the flute. The group then took on the pop song “Just the Way You Are,” arranged by former Buttondown James Robertson ’17 and the current Buttondowns president Jonathan Huang (VI), with strong solo performances by Rajeev Doraswamy (V) and Ian Dugan (V). They then concluded their part of the concert with “Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! At the Disco, arranged by Jonathan Huang, who also was the featured soloist. Alex Kaplan (III), Nolan Baynes (III), Ian Dugan (V) and others took on supporting parts in the song.
The performance concluded with the jazz band directed by music teacher Mr. Sean McAnally. The ensemble performed the songs “Red Clay” by Freddie Hubbard, “Stop” arranged by Sean McAnally, and “Better Get It In Your Soul” by Charles Mingus, all of which frequently featured improvisations by different members of the group.