SHS bands performed in special assemblies on the half-day before Thanksgiving break. (PC: Pixabay)
SHS bands performed in special assemblies on the half-day before Thanksgiving break.

PC: Pixabay

Bands Perform in Thanksgiving Half-Day Assembly

December 3, 2019

With Thanksgiving on their minds, SHS students filled the auditorium last Wednesday to be sent off into the upcoming break with performances by the school bands under the direction of SHS Band Director Jason Noble. Three ensembles played two performances for the first and second section of third period classes.

The Symphonic Band opened with Matters of Kindness by Kenley Kristofferson. The piece was commissioned to commemorate a beloved Canadian band student who had passed away. As the largest band of the school and comprising of over 80 student musicians, the Symphonic Band powerfully delivered the somber harmonies and an especially rousing ending. Next, they played Prevail by Robert Sheldon. The uplifting piece was at some points melodic, but at other times, a triumphant fanfare. Speckled with soli from instrument sections, the band made particularly smooth transitions in dynamics and tempo. 

The Wind Ensemble followed with Early Light by Carolyn Bremer. The premier SHS band group holds auditions for its musicians and has performed seven times at Carnegie Hall in the last 12 years. Airy and fast-moving, Early Light had moments inspired by The Star Spangled Banner and the composer’s love of baseball. The musicians highlighted these moments with a dynamically well-balanced performance and an appropriate joyous tone.  

The Wind Ensemble then performed Russian Christmas Music by Alfred Reed. The mystical piece is a classic in concert band repertoire and was premiered in 1969 as part of a concert that hoped to improve American-Soviet relations. The mystical piece was powerfully performed by the Wind Ensemble, whose soloists and unified sections powerfully delivered melodies of a children’s carol, a rhythmic chant, an angelic song, and a majestic, climactic finale.

The concert closed with a Jazz Combo consisting of five students who performed Softly as a Morning Sunrise by Sigmund Romi. The musicians passed around the melody and jazz spotlight, played first by a tenor saxophonist and followed by a trumpeter, alto saxophonist, pianist, and percussionist. The live jazz performance, with its emphasis on solos and improvisation, was perhaps a first to many of the audience members.

The band performances were diversely mixed with both soft musical moments and riveting grandeur. The Tuesday after the break, the ensemble will play in their Winter Concert.

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