Springfest II demonstrates prodigious talent of musical ensembles


Zoe Goldstein

Springfest II was a joyful concert full of diverse pieces, talented musicians, and the essence of spring. It was an impressive show including various ensembles at North.
Springfest was on Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Vocal Ensemble, Concert Choir, Family Singers, Orchestra, directed by music teacher Adam Grossman, and Wind Ensemble, directed by Richard Labedz, performed pieces that delighted the audience.
First, Vocal Ensemble sang “Follow Me, Sweet Love” by Michael East. It was a cheerful start to the show and showcased the satisfying blend of the singers’ voices. They sang unaccompanied, relying solely on the power of their voices.
Next, the ensemble sang “Behold the Duck” by Quincy Porter, a rhyming song about a duck. The round elicited laughs from the audience at the ridiculous lyrics. Despite the hilarity of the song, the piece was entertaining and rich.
The ensemble also performed “Bashana Haba’ah” by Ehud and Nurit Hirsch, and arranged by John Leavitt. The song was in Hebrew, and was complex, emotional, and slightly eerie. The dynamics and solemnity of the piece made it riveting.
“‘Bashana Haba’ah’ was really beautiful,” said freshman Carolyn McDonald, a member of the Vocal Ensemble. “I’m happy we are doing songs in languages other than English. I think it shows how welcoming Newton North is.”
She added, “We have a great community in chorus, and we have grown a lot since the beginning of the year.
Concert Choir sang next, starting with the song “Springtime Mantleth Every Bough” by Thomas Morley. The song was light and airy, its high notes and articulated words making it reminiscent of spring.
Concert Choir’s highlight was the song “Tico Tico” by Drake, arranged by Kirby Shaw. The song was bouncy and happy, its rhymes forming tongue twisters that the singers executed flawlessly.
Family Singers then performed three songs on poems of Nelly Sachs, a Holocaust survivor, by Michael H. Weinstein.
Their second piece and one of the poems, “Qual, Zeitmesser eines fremden Sterns,” was particularly notable. It started quietly and then crescendoed before decrescendoing again. Parts were murmured quickly, making the song chilling. All three of the pieces enthralled the audience with the singers’ prowess and the poems’ heavy subject material.
Honors String Ensemble joined the Family Singers for W.A. Mozart’s “Regina Coeli.” Two quartets sang parts of the piece, and their voices blended pleasingly with the strings. The entire piece was bright and colorful. The singers’ full voices and tones made the piece a highlight of the show.
Wind Ensemble then played “Concertino” by Cécile Chaminade, and arranged by Clayton Wilson. The song featured senior soloist Sophie Cohen. Cohen played skilfully against a backdrop of lower notes from the rest of the Wind Ensemble. The song toyed with different tempos, her solo changing from a series of trills and scales played quickly to a slower repetition of the meandering theme of the song.
“This piece was so special to me because I got the opportunity to play it with a full group,” said Cohen. “It embodies so many tempos, dynamics, and moods, which I think really bring the piece to life.”
Next, the Orchestra performed four songs starring senior soloists Anna Bosco, Sophie Cohen, Isabella Link, and Juyoung Song. The movement Allegro of “Viola Concerto No. 1” by Carl Stamitz featured Bosco on the viola. Bosco entered the lively song with precise yet lilting notes.
Finally, senior Juyoung Song played the violin in the movement allegro moderato of “Violin Concerto” by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. The music was dramatic, evoking different emotions throughout by experimenting with tempo and tension. At times, the vivacious soloist, backed up by the Orchestra and featuring a pleasing incorporation of flutes, played high, hopeful notes, but later switched to louder and darker tones, and then to serene, calm sections.
The piece was meaningful to Song: “I’ve always loved the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, but I wasn’t able to play it for awhile because of its technical and musical difficulty, as well as it being challenging endurance-wise as it has the longest period of constant playing for the soloist. Being able to play this concerto in my last concert before college meant a lot to me as a musician.”
She added, “I hope that during Springfest, my friends and audience felt something in the music aside from listening to it because there are a lot of feelings and messages that we can all relate to.”
Springfest II dazzled the audience with the sheer talent of the performers and the carefully picked pieces, making it a night of varied and complex emotions.