An uplifting winter concert in Medfield

The saxophone and clarinet sections of the Medfield High School Concert Band. Photographs by Audrey Anderson

By Audrey Anderson
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

The Medfield High School Music Department presented their winter concert on December 11 at 7 p.m. in the school’s Lowell Mason Auditorium. Excitement filled the air as the large crowd settled in to hear the varied program performed by the Concert Choir, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Concert Band.

The Concert Choir opened with “Aurora Borealis (a song of Alaska)” by Amy Bernon, a quiet tone poem with beautiful harmonies. They followed with the positive and hopeful a cappella piece, “Behold How Good” by Michael John Trotta. Impressively, the group held their pitch well without accompaniment while singing the intricate harmonies the piece demanded. Taylor Lahaise enhanced the performance with her strong solo voice.

 The flute section of the Medfield High School Concert Band.  Photographs by Audrey Anderson

The flute section of the Medfield High School Concert Band. Photographs by Audrey Anderson

The girls then captivated the audience with the humorous “Johnny Said ‘No!’” by Vijay Singh, and the boys followed with the ambitious spiritual, “Soon Ah Will Be Done” by William Dawson. Both pieces utilized intricate rhythms in each voice part and impressive dynamic changes.

The entire choir reassembled to present “Run, Mary, Run,” arranged by William Dawson and accompanied by Andrew Calanese, Caitlin Knight, Michael Koellner, and Zoey Pollard on African drums. Kate Davignon, Olivia Price, and Harry Dorer contributed assertive solos that focused the energy of the piece. Finally, the group concluded gently with the many-layered, soft benediction, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by John Rutter.

The Chamber Orchestra began impressively by performing “O Magnum Mysterium” by Tomas Luis de Victoria without the direction of a conductor. It is a testament to the students’ discipline that the ensemble could do this so well. The group then presented the solemn and lyrical “Bashana Haba’ah” by Edhud Manor and Nurit Hirsh, and finished with the ambitious “Concerto Grosso,” Op. 6 no. 8 by Archangelo Correlli. Katherine Lapham and Alyssa Shen, violins, and Marianna Apazadis, cello, contributed strong, rhythmic solos with bright, energetic themes.

The Medfield High School Concert Band led by their new director, Mr. Jason Bielik.  Photographs by Audrey Anderson

The Medfield High School Concert Band led by their new director, Mr. Jason Bielik. Photographs by Audrey Anderson

The large Concert Orchestra began with the delightful “Acrobats” by Richard Meyer. This piece featured quick runs and changing key signatures to give the impression of an entrancing day at the circus. In the “Lover’s Waltz” by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and arranged by Andrew Dabczynski, sweet, primitive melodies wove through the sections of the orchestra, in the style of the theme from Ken Burns’ “The Civil War,” which was also written by the same composers.

In the next piece, “Troika” (from the 1934 film “Lt. Kije”), composed by Sergeo Prokofiev and arranged by Stephen Wieloszynski, the orchestra melodramatically marched through discordant and witty territory. Finally, in “Themes from Moldau” by Bedrich Smetana and arranged by Robert S. Frost, the orchestra spun out the most romantic musical themes with gorgeous tone and phrasing, leaving those melodies pleasantly flowing through the audience’s thoughts for a time after the piece ended.

The Concert Band concluded the concert with three varied pieces. The first, “Cenotaph” by Jack Stamp, impressed with grand gestures that were cinematic and celebratory in nature. The second piece, “Ammerland” by Jacob de Haan, included romantic, expressive melodies. In the final piece, “Mount Everest” by Rossano Galante, the band unleashed its power, portraying the grandeur of Everest with powerful timpani rolls, bass drum booms, cymbal clashes, majestic brass figures, and rousing woodwind themes.

Before the final piece, the town’s new band director, Mr. Jason Bielik, spoke about how it was an adjustment for him to work in a new town after 11 years in another school, and how it was it was challenging for the students to get used to a new director. He was grateful that the students and the school were welcoming and willing to work beyond the initial adjustment to become a cohesive group.

The entire evening showed the strength of the music program at Medfield High School.

Congratulations to Mrs. Ardys Flavelle, Ms. Rhys Conklin, Mrs. Scagliotti-Driban, and Mr. Jason Bielik for their excellent direction and also to all of the singers and instrumentalists who surely worked hard to master the challenging repertoire presented while also handling the daily requirements of busy high-school students. All of the hard work and practice paid off handsomely!

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