Concert Starts Spring on a High Note


Members of the Orchestra perform “Triumph of the Argonauts” on the cello. (Photo/Max Simons)

Anna Van der Linden

Members of the Orchestra perform "Triumph of the Argonauts" on the cello. (Photo/Max Simons)
Members of the Orchestra perform “Triumph of the Argonauts” on the cello. (Photo/Max Simons)

Walpole High School welcomed the return of warm weather with the annual Spring Concert on Wednesday, April 9, at 7:30 in the Walpole High auditorium. This production featured the jazz band, orchestra, band, and chorus performing a variety of musical pieces. 

Thanks to the hard work of music director Michael Falker, jazz band director Mr. Dan McKenzie, and all the students involved, the concert was very well received. Mr. Falker said, “It was the best kind of concert because both of us were very happy with all four groups and with all the pieces, and that’s a bit unusual.”

Starting off the show was the 68-member orchestra performing three pieces. First was a formidable, very precise Brahms piece, “Tragic Overture,” followed by a dynamic strings-only performance of Moussorgsky’s “Hopak” from The Fair at Sorochinsk. The orchestra’s final number, “Triumph of the Argonauts” by Robert Sheldon, featured a flute solo from sophomore Julia Muller. Muller said, “Although our pieces were challenging, we were able to work well together and pull off a successful concert.”

Taking the stage next was the jazz band, an audition-entry group of sixteen students. They first played “Vila Real” by Doug Beach, a Latin chart with a debut drum solo by Jake Witherell.   The next number was Pat Metheny’s “Spring Ain’t Here,” a mellow number featuring Ray Brouwer and Bryan Hazerjian as soloists.  Lastly, “Artistry in Rhythm” by Stan Kenton — a classic from the Big Band era — showcased the talents of many different performers. Soloists included Brian Hazerjian on piano, Ray Brouwer on guitar, James Daitch on the saxophone, Padraic Curran on the saxophone, and Andrew Hazerjian on bass, and each soloist received applause after finishing his section of the song.

After a short intermission, the concert choir sang five pieces, each with a different tempo. They started with “Aurora Borealis,” a relaxing, simple song with perfect harmonies. Their next number, “Two Spirituals,” consisted of two entertaining traditional pieces —”Deep River” and “Witness” — that flowed into each other. Andrew Hazerjian accompanied the choir on the cello in their next song, “Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair.” Finally, a group of musicians including Brian Hazerjian on violin, Andrew Hazerjian on bass, Michael Van der Linden on the bodhran, John Ronan on piano, Ray Brouwer on guitar, and Julia Muller on the flute assisted the choir with a lively, traditional Irish piece called “Riversong.”

The last group of the night was the concert band. “Crush” by Robert W. Smith awakened the audience with a loud start and high energy throughout. “The March of the Trolls” from Edvard Grieg’s  “Lyric Suite” was playful and lively.  The band’s closing number,  “Emperata Overture” by Claude T. Smith, featured dynamic percussion and brought the audience to its feet.

Although the audience thinned somewhat as the night went on, the viewers clearly enjoyed the show as they gave frequent standing ovations and loud cheers to the students. Mr. Falker said, “It was a great concert because there’s no one piece that was the stand-out number, and there were no weak pieces, so in that sense people can just sit back and listen to the music. Not because of any singular standout achievement but because the whole thing was good first note to last.”

This concert was the second to last one of the year, and for Mr. Falker, there remains only one concert left in his career working for Walpole High School. The final show, Pops Night, will finish off a successful year of music on Friday, May 9.