Article by Sally Jang
As we approach the date of the ISM HS Finale Concert, it is not uncommon to see many high school students in different music classes (orchestra, band, choir) preparing diligently. The annual event, which has been around for quite some time, is enjoyed by the whole ISM community as an important showcase of our school’s musical talents.
What kind of pieces are going to be played?
Kirtana D. (a junior in Concert Choir): This year’s theme is duality and we try to portray this theme through our songs. The pieces contrast each other eg: a happy song, then a sad song etc.
Ms.Provencher (the choir teacher): The choirs will be singing a variety of pieces ranging from pop to modern classical.
Subin S. (a junior in Symphonic Band): We are playing ‘Kid Cam’, ‘The Rocketman!’, which is a fast tempo music, and ‘Be Still, My Soul’, a chorale prelude and one of my favorites. We’ll also play ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman.
Mr.Naz (the band teacher): Exciting pieces, as always. There will be a popular song that we’re setting up at the final number.
Kylie C. (a sophomore in Orchestra): We have a variety of pieces, from classical to pop. Because there’s a variety of different styles, I think it just makes it more entertaining for the audience.
What was your inspiration when you were planning the concert?
Mr.Naz: The theme for the “Finale Concert” is Duality. So expect a contrast of pieces. We’ll try to lure the audience with black & white, yin yang, and more.
Ms.Provencher: We started talking about the nature of duality in music, such as how upbeat rhythms can accompany a song about heartbreak. Expression in music covers such a range of emotions, and the focus of our music will be the opposite extremes of those expressions.
How is this year’s concert different from the previous years’ shows?
Kirtana D: This year’s theme is very different from previous years. I like the type of songs we’re doing this year as I’m learning new genres of music.
Ms.Provencher: Each concert is unique because of the variety of music and musicians participating. This year will feature a combined band/strings/choir closer from the music of The Greatest Showman.
Mr.Naz: Every year it is different, probably due to the different batch of students. I tend not to do the same pieces as I did before.
Kylie C: For this year, we are combining the choir and the band, which has been done before, albeit not that frequent. This is also the last chance for our seniors to play in a concert, and we’ve definitely prepared for a long time for this.
What were your struggles in the process of preparation?
Kirtana D: More than the notes of the songs, coming up with choreography for the some of the songs was hard. Due to limited availability of space, the movement has to be restricted but also engaging. The choreography should also portray the emotions behind the songs. Coming up with choreography turned out to be a very reflective process.
Ms.Provencher: The choir will be singing very challenging music, and it was a learning experience to internalize each piece in order to perform it well.
Subin S: Learning all the articulation and dynamics and working as a whole band is the hardest struggle every year before the concert. And because we had long weekends and breaks in between, the whole band was struggling to remember those pieces
Mr.Naz: These students do everything here in ISM. It was hard to sell the music to the students. (of course I would have preferred the music to be liked by the students to play) It is hard to get them on extra after school rehearsals.
Kylie C: I think the break, which was in the middle of our preparation time, disoriented us at first, but after some time, we were able to get back on track.
What should people expect from this concert?
Kirtana D: People should definitely expect the duality in the music. All the singers, musicians have put in a lot of effort and I’m sure the performance will be amazing!
Ms.Provencher: Excellent music!
Subin S: I think among all the performing classes, band, especially symphonic band is always the most surprising part of the concert because there are so many unexpected pieces, an unexpectedly good performance, and even unexpected mistakes.
Mr.Naz: Great music.
Kylie C: A multitude of many talented players, really. I think in general, people should expect to get a taste of different genres in this concert, and really get a feel of different kinds of music, which are all worth listening to and exploring.
Aside from the audiences’ expectations, what are yours?
Kirtana D: I am hoping that the concert goes without a glitch and that everyone has a good time. I’m looking forward to the concert!
Ms.Provencher: I hope that all the musicians will make connections with the music they are performing and enjoy their experience.
Subin S: Although Mr.Naz gets irritated frequently because we keep on playing badly in every class, our performance is always successful and satisfying, so I expect success
Mr.Naz: My expectations are that the audience will come to me afterwards and say: “wow ..and these are just high school students???”
Kylie C: I expect for this concert to go as planned. We’ve definitely worked on it for a long period of time, and I feel like it will be of great sentimental value to us as well, as it is also a goodbye to seniors in our class, and such. Overall, though, I expect the concert to go well, and leave people wanting a taste of more variety of styles of music.