Students Deliver Memorable Performance at Annual Winter Concert


Students perform at the Winter Concert.

Mackenzie Wilson

Students perform at the Winter Concert.
Students perform at the Winter Concert.

Much like a championship sports game, a music concert all comes down to practice. Practicing music, tuning instruments, and rehearsing with all separate components— from the Orchestra to the Chorus — each part is vital to ensure a successful performance. With direction from Music Department Director Michael Falker, the students work towards their potential in order to turn a fair concert into a great one. Under the direction of Music Department Head Michael Falker, who is in his final year before retirement, the students performed in the Winter Concert on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

Dressed in the standard black and white attire, the students entered the auditorium. Except for chairs on the stage for the instrument groups and rosters for the vocal groups, the auditorium was empty. There were no decorations, leaving the auditorium in its normal state when the crowd of family members and friends filed into the room. Unlike previous years, Falker did not reserve seats for his musicians to watch the other groups perform; hence, the audience crowded into the front rows in the auditorium, and the musicians who were not playing filled in the back rows. There were very few empty seats left in the auditorium when the concert began at 7:30pm.

Opening with the Band, the students started their concert with their usual mix of classical and slightly more modern pieces of music. According to Mr. Falker, the favorite overall for Band was the third piece: “Mount Everest” by the composer Rossano Galante. The piece was robust, with fanfares from horns and underlying melodies played by flutes and clarinets. Though it was a difficult piece, the musicians transitioned smoothly and kept with the pace of the uptempo piece.The band members performed it with passion, drifting off at the slowest parts, only to pick up the tempo as the sound increased.

Falker saw the performance of “Mount Everest” for the band as a success for the group. To him, it illustrated the point that passion and hard work must be the foundation for any performance. “It’s the level of enthusiasm — which is expected— however, it’s combined with the commitment that you don’t see,” said Falker. “The enthusiasm without the work, [means] you’re not going to achieve the level of excellence we strive for.”

Next came the only two music groups Mr. Falker does not direct: Jazz Choir and Jazz Band. Led by middle school chorus teacher Mrs. Lynda Maccini-Pavloff, the Jazz Choir performed a variety of classic Christmas Carols a cappella style, including “Silent Night,” “Hark the Herald,” and “The First Noel. ̈ The throwback to classic Christmas Carols delighted the audience as they heard the songs. Each song earned a round of applause from the audience as it reminded them of the nearing holiday season.

“Performing Christmas Carols is always my favorite part about the winter concert,” said senior Jazz Choir member Genevieve Canavan. “There’s a feeling of holiday spirit in the air when we sing them for the audience, and the songs seem to put people in a good mood.”

Following Jazz Choir was Jazz Band, performing their usual mix of blues and jazz numbers like “Greasin’ the Skillet” and “Crystal Cove. ̈ A lesser known number, “Greasin’ the Skillet” was an impromptu piece involving plenty of solos and jazzy interludes in its music. The trumpets blared out a happy melody while the bass cello accompanied them. Adding in a more modern sound with the drums and guitars, the piece received more applause from the audience than any other Jazz Band numbers.

Finally, nearing the close of the evening, came the Chorus. As usual, the students showcased their vocal abilities through a range of pieces, starting off more classical with “In Winter” and ending with an a capella rendition of “Mary Had a Baby. ̈ The spiritual number was light and airy with each voice playing off of each other’s. Following chorus and closing the concert was Orchestra, playing the popular tune “Little Russian” by Tchaikovsky. The piece boasts a complex sound, consisting of a ferocious percussion line and delicate violin melodies accompanied by brassy, boisterous trumpets.

The Winter Concert is the first of three performances the seniors and Mr. Falker have left at Walpole High School; the other two— the Spring Concert and Pops Night— take place in spring. At the close of the 2013-2014 school year, Mr. Falker will retire as music department head and teacher of Walpole High. As one of his last few performances, it was important that the Winter Concert stayed at his expected standard of excellence.

Orchestra member, senior Meghan Wheeler, was proud of the music department’s performance. “I really felt our that our concert showed off our abilities as a department,” said Wheeler, “This is one of the last concerts for the seniors, as well as Mr. Falker, and I think we showed what we can really do.”