by Leah Budson
Winterfest I posters scattered around this school show a snow-covered scene with footprints that disappear into a sunset. The image, designed by design and visual communications student junior Austen Young, emulates the journey that was Winterfest I and Winterfest II.
Winterfest is an annual two night concert that features all the fine and performing arts department’s music ensembles. The event was held Wednesday and Thursday in the auditorium at 7 p.m.
The Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Chamber Ensembles performed Wednesday.
Thursday, the Family Singers, String Ensemble and Orchestra performed, followed by the Ray Smith Memorial Concert which featured Concert Choir, Family Singers and Orchestra.
The Symphonic Band began Winterfest I with “Into the Storm” by Robert W. Smith. The chimes, which began the piece, reminded the audience of wind chimes being swayed by the wind before a storm. As more instruments joined in, the music became louder and more intense, just like a storm.
The Symphonic Chamber Ensemble followed, playing “Clarinet Marmalade” by Edwin Edwards, James La Rocca, Tony Sbarbaro and Larry Shields. The piece was originally written for four clarinets, but rearranged by musician and songwriter James ‘Red’ McLeod for more instruments. Music teacher Richard Labedz, who conducted the song, described the cheerful piece as having a Dixieland and New Orleans feel.
Sections of the Wind Ensemble, the Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet and Brass Ensembles, played next.
In the second movement of “A Gaelic Offering,” the Flute Ensemble played “Rose Cottage,” by Catherine McMichael. Similar to the blooming of a rose, the piece began with a few flautist’s delicate notes, and then, more flutes chimed in until all eight students in the ensemble were playing together.
The Saxophone Ensemble performed “Concerto Grosso No. 9” by Arcangelo Corelli, a piece during which many audience members could not resist tapping their feet to the powerful, upbeat music.
“Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles Francois Gounod opened with staccato notes played by the Clarinet Ensemble, creating an eerie mood that continued throughout the piece.
The Wind Ensemble performed the final piece of Winterfest I, “Arabesque” by Samuel R. Hazo. The entire number was filled with crescendos. Every time the audience thought that the piece had reached its climax, the song continued to build amazingly, ricocheting off the auditorium walls and filling the audience with excitement. The piece has a distinct middle eastern flavor. In addition, it resembled an adventure through the fast-paced crescendos and the fluid interludes.
Winterfest II began with “Shenandoah” arranged by Marshal Bartholomew, and sung a cappella. The Family Singers voices described missing the beautiful rivers and valleys of Shenandoah.
The String Ensemble played “Simple Symphony” by Benjamin Britten. The piece consisted of several cleverly named parts such as the playful “Boisterous Bourée” and the melancholy “Sentimental Sarabande.”
The Orchestra swelled with a delicate yet powerful beauty in “Introduzione” by Gaetano Donizetti.
After the Orchestra performed, Concert Choir and Family Singers joined the Orchestra on stage for the annual Ray Smith Memorial Concert.
This annual concert is dedicated to former music teacher Ray Smith, who founded Family Singers. Smith was “a real force within the music department,” according to fine and performing arts department head Todd Young. Young said that the concert “cherishes Smith’s commitment to music education.”
To honor Smith, the three groups performed “Frostiana,” a collection of seven Robert Frost poems, set to music by Randall Thompson.
“Come In,” a piece about a thrush, featured flautist senior Emily Schacter who represented the bird in the song’s title. “A Girl’s Garden” stood out for its strong beat.
The night closed with the last song of “Frostiana,” “Choose Something Like a Star.” The voices grew suddenly more powerful as they sang “say something to us we can learn.” The song’s lyrics conveyed appreciation for education and celebrated curiosity.
After the final notes of “Choose Something Like a Star,” the audience members filed out of the auditorium, many of them still holding the program for Winterfest II. Featured on the program was an image designed by Austen Young. The picture shows the same snow-covered scene as the Winterfest I posters, but was lit by stars instead of a sunset. The scene had a sense of serenity and calmness, leaving the audience satisfied and eagerly waiting for the ensembles’ next appearance at Springfest.