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Springfest celebrates successful year for musical ensembles


Springfest I

by Amy Xue

Students from Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and the Jubilee Singers gathered in the Performing Arts Center for Springfest I Wednesday, April 10. Music teachers Richard Labedz and Sheldon Reid conducted the incredible performance, which served as a welcome to the spring.

The concert opened with a rendition of “Encanto” by the Symphonic Band, which was conducted by Labedz. The piece started almost like a fanfare, with trumpets and cymbals. Slowly, the other wind instruments came in with the main melody and the piece evolved into a captivating overture, ending with a dramatic crescendo.

Contrasting the previous piece, “Pavane” featured a suspenseful melody led by wind instruments. The song built up to a series of climaxes, keeping the audience at the edge of their seats.

“Each of the concerts to me feels a little different. For example, Harvestfest is about opening up the year and introducing all the groups and Winterfest is a little bit more of a showcase concert,” said Labedz. “Springfest can be full of classic works and things people might recognize. What’s unique about it is that I’ve always tried to do something that’s a little bit lighter of a program.”

After the Symphonic Band, the Wind Ensemble, also conducted by Labedz, went on stage to play “Holst,” which was four movements. The first movement set off a grand opening, whereas the second one had more legato. It ended with a jig-like fourth and final movement with a heavy emphasis on saxophones, brass, and percussion.

Junior Sophia Franklin, who plays oboe in Wind Ensemble, said, “There’s a really good line of communication in the band. We’ve been developing our different systems for leadership and music, and I think that’s paid off a lot.”

“March of the Sun Dried Tomatoes” started with sounds imitating a bird, including a triangle, a ratchet, and a bird pipe. The piece had a lighthearted feel to it, as indicated by the unusual title. The song sped up towards the middle and ended with an airier tone. The Wind Ensemble kept the beat and energy of the song as they adeptly navigated the arrangement.

“We actually started to bring some humor into the program like ‘March of the Sun Dried Tomatoes,’” said Labedz. “The bird sounds in the back and the interesting array of orchestration of instruments can make you picture different things.”

Both groups then combined to play “Sun Cycles.” The marimba and drums gave the piece a warm feel. The trumpets and saxophones expertly accompanied each other, making the piece a highlight of the show. “It was the most challenging piece, but we got the most out of it afterwards, so it feels like we accomplished something amazing,” said freshman Ava Howell, who plays percussion in the Symphonic Band.

Lastly, the Jubilee Singers, conducted by Reid, took the stage to sing various selections from their last season. The harmony of the singers’ voices was flawless as they launched into a collection of gospel songs, accompanied by only a piano and percussion. Their voices reverberated throughout the otherwise silent theater as they belted out the high notes.

Overall, Springfest was an excellent way for the different groups to showcase the songs they have been working on this year.

Springfest II

by Isabella Lecona

North’s student singers and musicians came together in the auditorium to produce a mellifluous evening of music Thursday, April 11. The featured groups included Vocal Ensemble, Concert Choir, the Family Singers, Orchestra, and the Honors String Ensemble, conducted by music teacher Adam Grossman.

The show opened with “Somewhere” from the West Side Story soundtrack, a melodic piece performed by Vocal Ensemble. The ensemble used the power of their voices and the support of minimal piano accompaniment The song showed true impassionment and emotion, making it the group’s highlight of the night.

Concert Choir feature of the show was their rousing rendition of “Corner of the Sky” by Stephen Schwartz. The choir used vocal rounds, layering their voices at different keys, which came together beautifully to create a single sound. The upbeat, cheery song was a phenomenal representation of the liveliness of the spring season.

Next up, the green velvet and tuxedo-clad Family Singers brought vocal expertise to the night, with songs haunting and jovial alike. Their highlight piece was “Early Summer Morning” by Sara Doncaster, which tells a story of a swallow bird and her nest. It was not only extremely appropriate for spring, but it was performed wonderfully, and brought a charming, old-timey feel to the night.

The non-vocal portion of the night was just as thrilling. Soloist Miki Shibuya, accompanied by the entire orchestra, dazzled the audience with her skillful playing of the flute in the song “Poem” by Charles T. Griffes. Shibuya’s instrument had a high pitched, lilting sound to it which felt almost ethereal as it blended richly with the orchestra.

The second soloist, Ken Takeoka, left viewers in awe of his command of the piano. He led the orchestrain a symphonic performance of “Allegro Moderato” by Edvard Grieg. The well-executed rendition had a jaunty feel to it, combined with intense moments of decadent, faster-paced piano playing by Takeoka.

All in all, the evening was a dazzling success which showcased the talent of North’s student musicians in a fresh, exciting way.

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