Orchestra plays medley of classical music and jazz

By Arielle Maxner

In the last orchestra concert of the year, Concert Strings, the Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra played pieces of varying styles at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica on April 12.

“As a senior, it’s a little bit bittersweet,” said Josh Ha ’12, first chair clarinet player of Symphony. “But it was fun.”

“It was an awesome experience and really fun to go to, especially since it was at a church, which added to the effect of a lot of our songs,” said clarinet player in the Wind Ensemble Kevin Zhang ’14.

The concert began with two pieces from Concert Strings followed by the Wind Ensemble, which played “Braul and Maruntel” by Bela Bartok and the folk song “Summer Joy.” The Percussion Ensemble then performed a Latin etude. Finally, Symphony played two compositions, “Colors” and a medley of songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel.”

“Colors,” composed by Ternot Wolfgang, a friend of orchestra director Mark Hilt, incorporated solos by Jake Chapman ’12 on the vibes, Daniel Sunshine ’13 on the drums and Chris Freedman ’12 on the bass. Members of the Jazz Explorers also played solos on the bassoon, cello and clarinet.

“It was a mix between classical and jazz, something we haven’t done before,” Ha said.

Second chair violinist Justin Sohn ’12 said “Colors” was very “modern and experimental, playing with the capacities of the orchestra. It really used the different colors of the orchestral palette.”

Percussionist Danni Xia ’12 said the composer attended rehearsals of the piece and gave pointers.

Xia said he was really satisfied after the concert.

Xia, a member of the Percussion Ensemble and a percussionist for Symphony, played six instruments for the concert, including the crotales, which she had never played before.

“I had to play four instruments in ‘Colors,’” Xia said. “I’ve never played that many in one piece before.”

The final piece, “Carousel,” began with a waltz and used popular melodies from the musical, such as “Mister Snow” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

“There was an old couple in the audience who started to sing the lyrics to some of the songs,” Xia said. “It was the sweetest moment.”

“‘Carousel’ was really a feel-good piece,” Sohn said. “Ending on that note was nice and satisfying.”     

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