For the first time in forever: UD music department collage concerts returns to Gross stage

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Hanzhang Swen and Madison Kim

For the first time in over two years, the Upper Division Music Department hosted collage concerts for Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, String Sinfonietta, Chamber Winds, and Jazz Combo last Thursday, and Glee Club, Steel Pan Ensembles, Concert Glee, and Treble Choir on Friday.

The energy in both concerts was very high and people were excited to be back on stage performing, Khosrowpour said. Extensive planning was necessary to ensure the concerts ran smoothly, stage and equipment manager Amir Khosrowpour said. He was responsible for arranging the movement of steel pans, percussion equipment, and music stands from Fisher Hall to the Gross Theater stage, he said.

The maintenance staff was also a huge help to Khosrowpour as they helped pack all the steel pans into their cases and moved them over to Gross Theater, as well as three crew members from the Horace Mann Theater Company who helped move the chairs, stands, and percussion on and off stage.

Music teacher Alan Bates directed the Steel Pan Ensembles, chose the pieces, and composed most of the arrangements, he said. His classes have been practicing for the concert since the beginning of the year. 

“Preparing for this concert was very fun,” Brady Winter (10), a member of the Steel Pan Ensemble, said. “Being back in the community was one of the best parts of the concert,” he said. Having family and friends there and being able to experience the full effects of a concert after COVID was amazing.”

Treble Choir has also been preparing since fall, Clementine Bondor (11) said. They sounded the best it ever had at the concert, and all the parts they were worried about sounded clean. The choir met three times a week to rehearse but also used this time to become closer by updating each other on their lives, she said. Treble has grown very close and Bondor enjoyed balancing a fun and professional atmosphere within the group, she said. 

Orchestra, while also rehearsing the pieces as a class, focused on fixing small musical and technical details individually, Andrew Glover (10) said. Each section would have separate practice sessions apart from an entire group, and the class took quizzes, to ensure that everyone knew their part, he said.

Tomoko Hida (12), a member of Sinfonietta, had to prepare a difficult piece that she got in December. “I was flustered at first but kept on running through it,” she said. “I got the gist of the first movement pretty quickly, then the second movement, and finally, prepared for the third movement for a month and a half and had the piece down.” Musical pieces are often divided into individual movements that tell the story of the piece.

It was beneficial for Hida to experiment with different ways to rehearse, she said. “We rehearsed without a conductor, like a classic ensemble, but sometimes we had Mr. Hetherington there to lead us through our piece and having him there was beneficial.”

Treble Choir member Daphne Tsai (10) could not participate but watched the concerts online because she had COVID. “I was a bit sad that I was unable to perform with the rest of my choir,” she said. “I wanted to listen to the Treble Choir outside of a singer’s perspective as I was unable to sing due to COVID.”

Joann Yu (10) attended the concert on Thursday and her favorite moment was watching the Sinfonietta perform Triptyque by Yasushi Akutagawa, she said. “They played a song composed by a Japanese composer, instead of by a typical white European composer,” she said. “It was nice to see some diversity in the music and different composers that they performed.” Yu recommends attending the music concerts to anyone at the school and thought it was a brilliant experience, she said.

Daniel Pustilnik (10) attended to watch his sister, Dalia Pustilnik (12), who is in the Treble Choir. Although he attends all of her concerts, this one was especially important to her because it was her last concert at the school. “I couldn’t really miss it and I’m glad I didn’t,” he said. He enjoyed all the performances, especially the steel drums performances and Treble Choir’s song, “Ain’t No Grave.” “It was a good welcome back concert after not being able to host one for a few years due to COVID.”