Article by: Zaineen K.

Last week, ISM showcased three concerts for strings, band, and choir, presented by the amazing music department. Choir teacher, Ms. Grev, explains why there were three separate concerts this semester: “It is important to give each element of the music department an opportunity to showcase student learning. One of the ways we achieve this goal is by giving each type of ensemble their own performance to craft, build, and execute, allowing them to have their moment in the sun, so to speak, as well as focusing in on their particular area of expertise.”

It’s no secret that these great performances were preceded by hours and hours of practice by dedicated musicians and conductors. “Concert Band is the intermediate level, it takes them two months to really master pieces. Symphonic Band is one of the top audition groups, it takes them a month on hard level music, other pieces take two weeks. And Jazz band can learn songs in three meetings,” explains Mr. Nazareno, the band teacher.

Michael B., a junior in Jazz Band and a baritone saxophone player, explains how quickly he has to learn his pieces sometimes: “Most of our songs we practice at least two weeks before presentation; however, in some instances it can be much less. For the finale, I was just given the music less than 2 hours before playing.”

There are lots of obstacles to overcome. “The hardest part for me personally is choreography. Naz tells us we need to dance with our instruments to several of our songs, and dancing with a Bari Sax (being four and a half feet of solid metal) can get pretty tough, and look just as ugly,” says Michael.

Anne S., a junior who is in Show Choir, says, “As a singer, you cannot get sick. If you do, then it ruins all your vocal chords and you can’t sing the correct pitches and tones. Usually the struggles I face are trying to remember my part of the song and not get nervous easily.”

“It’s difficult to play on tempo and as a group. I also had to sing, which was embarrassing,” explains Kyle K., a junior and a viola player. To Mr. Bobisse, the strings teacher, “The main challenge in preparing a concert is choosing a repertoire that appeals both students and audience, challenging and various. It’s not easy!”

Ultimately, all the hard work is worth it, explains Mr. Nazareno: “We all come together, all of us giving all we got because we only get one shot of this. Something magical always happens during the performance itself, some bad but most of them good!”

As Ms. Grev says, “The best part of putting on a concert is seeing the students shine. They work very hard to learn their music and share their passion for it, and when they receive the applause from the audience and feel the joy and pride of being a part of something bigger than themselves, it’s the greatest gift a teacher could ever receive.”

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