The Concert band, Symphonic band, Wind Ensemble and Orchestra performed a wide range of works at Paly’s annual Instrumental Winter Concert. The concert was held on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.
Conductors Jeff Wilner and Greg Miller compiled music from various composers, including John Zdechlik and Taylor. At the beginning of the concert, Wilner explained the integration of technological aspects into the performance, including pre-recorded audio and video, to the audience.
“We are trying to use the strength of this place and all the bells and whistles that it has with a couple of pieces it has,” Wilner said to the crowd.
The Concert band performed “The Machine Awakes,” composed by Steven Bryant, and “The Witching Hour,” composed by Randall Standrige. Wilner described both pieces as slightly creepy, scary songs.
The Orchestra came next, performing “Holberg Suite Orchestra” and “Waltz from Sleeping Beauty.” Finally, the Wind Ensemble performed “Washington Greys.” The Symphonic band performed two unique songs, one of which was “Seeds of Glass.” Senior bassoonist Sonny Young said “Seeds of Glass” was an unexpected deviation from the group’s usual songs.
“‘Seeds of Glass,’ in particular, is a very unorthodox piece to play, as it juxtaposes a video component alongside the instrumental component,” Young said. “Aligning the two together, in addition to refining the quality of music, is a huge challenge in itself.”
“Seeds of Glass” was not the only unique song the group played. “Chorale and Shaker Dance” incorporated all members and instruments in its composition, creating a unique and multi-dimensional performance.
“‘Chorale and Shaker Dance’ is a fast-tempo piece that features every section in the band to play the melody, so it relies on each member to thoroughly understand how to play their parts,” Young said.
Sophomore trumpetist Neil Rathi said playing a piece like “Seeds of Glass” is exciting.
“It was a super interesting experience, but making sure that our music was in time with the video took a lot of practice,” Rathi said.
Members worked tirelessly to perfect their music and sometimes learn songs on a short timeline. Sophomore clarinetist Natalie Nguyen had to learn her pieces in a shorter time period than usual.
“For this concert, we only got our two songs right before Winter Break,” Nguyen said. “Additionally, the Wind Ensemble played two additional songs for the concert, and we were only able to rehearse those songs a handful of times.”
The importance of practice is heavily emphasized within the group as they were required to practice at both school and home.
“The ensembles have been preparing for the concert since the last couple weeks of first semester through weekly in class rehearsals,” Young said. “Students also practice their parts at home.”
The end of the concert was met with a resounding round of applause for the musicians.
Nguyen said, “Overall, it is because of the effort that each individual player in the ensemble put in that we were prepared for the concert.”