Article by: Ahona Salsabil
The ISM Fine and Performing Arts department always has a host of events in store to showcase the myriad talents of Bearcats. This month, the Music Department is getting ready for the first concert of the year, the annual Great Works Concert. This year’s Great Works is inspired by Russian music and the concert aims to give a taste of the country that has made innumerable contributions to Classical music and the arts.
Every year, a teacher in the Music Department takes the role of coordinator of the concert as well as the conductor of the main piece and this year, the honor goes to Orchestra teacher Mr. Bobisse. According to him, the main purpose of the Great Works Concert is “to give ISM advanced music students the opportunity to experience the symphonic orchestra repertoire typically involving a full choir.” Exclusively for the concert, the choirs, orchestra, and band classes will come together to perform a classical masterpiece. Last year, the main piece was Rhapsody in Blue and this year, the concert will open with Overture 1812 by Tchaikovsky, a piece that originally featured a real cannon and a cathedral’s bells. Show Choir teacher Ms. Provencher explains that oftentimes when the piece is performed outside, “people use real cannons at parts of the piece. Obviously, we aren’t going to have real cannons at ISM so instead, we will use the timpani.” The timpani is a really loud drum also known as kettledrums. Mr. Bobisse goes on to add that they will also play “a super virtuosic piece originally conceived as a ballet music: Polovetsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor. You will hear the greatest sonorities of a symphonic orchestra with full instrumentation.”
The concert is a unique opportunity for ISM’s musically inclined students and Mr. Bobisse hopes that they will “embrace the challenge with courage and responsibility because it’s all technically demanding music. To sound as a group we have to think as a group where every single player matters.” Senior Janice K., a member of the symphonic band, agrees that the pieces for the Great Works are more difficult than usual but “the fact that I get to play such challenging pieces is exciting because of the feeling of accomplishment whenever I get to play my part correctly.” She is also excited to play these pieces alongside professional band instrumentalists, “since playing in a concert next to a professional is something that rarely happens in the life of a high school student.”
Senior Ayaka S., a fellow symphonic band member, also feels that it is “nice to work with other classes in the music department, since I always feel like we do not get as many opportunities to work together as we should.”
In terms of preparation, Janice K. thinks preparations are going pretty well. “We practice the pieces every band class and I try to spend some time practicing them outside of school as well.” But with the amount of work seniors have to do, Ayaka S. admits that “I haven’t been able to practice pieces at home, but because of this, I try extra hard to stay focused during classes.”
With all the hard work students and teachers alike have put into the concert, the audience can expect to have a great time in the presence of energetic and fun pieces. The concert will be held on September 20 at 5:30 pm, so remember the date and come support the talented Bearcats, who will, without a doubt, put on a great show.