On Monday, January 23, at Boettcher Concert Hall, the LHS students joined Castle View, Chaparral, Douglas County, Heritage, Highlands Ranch, Legend, Mountain Vista, Ponderosa, Regis, Rock Canyon and Thunder Ridge to put on the Continental League Honor Music Festival and showcase their musical talents.
The concert opened with Dr. Donald J McKinney conducting the band. He normally conducts the CU Wind Symphony and oversees the university’s band program, but agreed to take on the challenging task of putting together this year’s Continental League in only five rehearsals.
The band featured many LHS students, such as Natalie Schoenhals, Maddie Baughman, Maddie Perun and Ronja Vaitaitis.
The theme McKinney pushed for throughout the concert was the dramatic change in tempos and sound. He constantly pointed out the skills it takes to go from a fast march to a slower, lighter ballad, which the students were able to effectively show.
The band opened with a fast paced, typical march called “On The Mall” by Edwin Franko Goldman. Their next song showed a change of pace, with a much slower ballad entitled “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey.
The band’s third song was a collection of ballads that highlighted their talent. The collection was entitled “Puszta” by Jan Van der Roost and it consisted of four songs called the “Four Gipsy Dances.” These songs caused the students to have to take a swift change in pace and tempo, as each song durastically varied to show off the students’ abilities.
The last song was called was “Themes from Green Bushes” by Percy Grainger. This song was like “skiing down a slope,” as it required a constant change in speed and sound. The last song they performed was especially enjoyable, as it started slow and gradually got faster.
“My favorite song to perform was ‘Green Bushes’ because it was fun to play and challenging to learn because it required a lot of changes in sound and pitch,” said junior Natalie Schoenhals.
After the band performed, the choir took the stage. The students from LHS performing include Aubrey Burr, Kennedy Hunter, Kathy Le, Miriam Tomlinson, Alexa Beale, Erika Corbitt, Priya Kearns, Sienna Woo, Raphael Flavier, Brandon Gomez, Patrick Hayes, Nathaniel Mapp, Alex Green, Patrick Moriarty, Matt Rolen and Hector Valles Salles.
Choir director Dr. Galen Darrough lead the choir into their first song, “Awake the Harp” by F. J Haydn, accompanied by pianist Marsha Prokuski.
Their second song was called “Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal” by Alice Parker. In comparison to the first song, it shifted from a faster and lighter tune tone to a soft and somber song. While the third sped up the tempo once again. It was entitled “In Remembrance” by Jeffery Ames.
The fourth song the students performed was a lot slower. It was titled “Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre. A lot of students enjoyed the beauty the portrayed.
“It was a beautiful piece to have sung with the choir. The dynamics in the song and lyrics were just gorgeous,” said senior Kathy Le.
What was interesting about this song was that the writer originally wrote it for a film for Disney, but it was never used because the producers decided to create “Kung Fu Panda” instead.
The last song the students performed was called “What Would You Do if You Married a Soldier” by Mack Wilberg. The song was sung with a faster tempo.
Overall, the students felt they did a great job of portraying the choir’s talent as a group.
“The choir director did a wonderful job conducting the choir, cuing each part when to go in. I think overall the choir sang well. We all looked like we were having fun as well as the choir director,” said Le.
The orchestra then performed following the choir students. It featured Jazzy Miller, Elissa Volling, Kathryn Allee, Madison Deter, Emma and Logan Nelson, Aida Telford, Jared Prokuski, Quan Le, Dianna Link, Amber Sheeran, and Amanda Staab from LHS.
They opened with two drum soloists, seniors Jared Prokuski and Quan Le, who emerged from the upper level of the theater. The orchestra then began their first song, “Overture to La Gazza Ladra” by Gioacchino Rossini, and featured the percussionists numerous times throughout the piece.
The students performed two more collections of songs, each incorporating other non-string instruments to give it a diverse sound while telling a story to the audience using only their instruments and music.
“[the wind and percussion sections] offer a wider array of sounds and textures that cannot be achieved by strong alone. Non-string instruments were used often to create a variety in tone and color to represent different things,” said senior Diana Link.
The students were especially happy to welcome their orchestra director, Alexandra Arrieche, who is originally from Brazil and has traveled around the world conducting orchestras. Don Emmons was able to contact her, along with the rest of the conductors, and get her to come and help with the performance.
“Our guest conductor was an honor to work with and really transformed the sound of the ensemble,” said Link.
Throughout each performance, the conductors brought up how important it is for people to support music education because without the support, the students would’ve never been able to achieve such a great concert.
The students were overall pleased with their performance and are looking forward to hopefully return and do an even better job next year.
“I think we worked and played really well considering we only had about five rehearsals as a group. I hope that next year, for those who are staying, we can put on an even better performance,” said Schoenhals.