Music Department unites to spread holiday cheer

Symphony+Orchestra+performs+%22The+Bells+of+Christmas%22+during+the+Holiday+Concert+on+Wednesday%2C+Dec.+15.

Courtesy of Twitter user @ThisIsHCHS

Symphony Orchestra performs “The Bells of Christmas” during the Holiday Concert on Wednesday, Dec. 15.

On Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., the auditorium was staged and the musicians were ready for the Music Department’s annual Holiday Concert, where each group from the different sections received the opportunity to share the music that they’ve been perfecting all semester. Not only was it a showcase for interested peers and parents, but it also provided the audience with enough holiday spirit to carry them through the coming weeks.

The concert included the Concert Orchestra, Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Treble Choir, HC Singers, Concert Percussion Ensemble, Concert Band, Women’s Chorale, Chamber Choir, Men’s Choir, Symphonic Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. However, not all of these groups were originally part of the tradition.

“When I first started 10 years ago, the Holiday Concert already existed. It was only for Orchestra and Choir, and we decided to start making it more of a departmental thing,” said Mr. Matt Kurinsky, Music Department chair and band director. “Everybody takes a couple of minutes to do something. It’s good for the audience. They get to see a lot of different things in a relatively short amount of time.”

Although the actual concert had all of these groups, the assembly that took place during the school day on Tuesday, Dec. 13 only contained performances from the Music Department’s top groups. Senior Karsen Kolnicki is a member of Chamber Choir, which was one of the groups selected to perform at the assembly.

“We’ve been singing Christmas songs since August,” Kolnicki said. “My favorite song to sing during the concert is ‘Carol of the Bells’ because everyone knows it, and it’s a tradition passed down every year for Madrigals. It’s really cool to finally be a part of that, and everyone sings along.”

However, even the groups who didn’t perform during school worked tirelessly throughout the semester in order to be ready for the actual concert the day after the assembly. The entire department had been practicing their pieces practically since the first day of school.

“We practice every day during band,” said Evan Massouras, junior trombonist for Symphonic Band. “Sometimes we go home and practice during the day.”

Hours and hours of effort went into the final product, which was presented not just to students and faculty, but also to parents and community members the night of the actual show. The concert was slightly different than the assembly because there were more performances and some of the groups performed more traditional holiday songs. It was also different because the audience created a noticeably different atmosphere, compared to that of the students during the assembly.

“[The audiences] are both very different. It’s more nerve-wracking to sing in front of your peers, but they give better feedback. They clap more, and sometimes they yell out things,” Kolnicki said. “The parents are kind of quieter and more bored, I guess.”

The concert ended with a light-hearted group performance from the full choir and band of “The Christmas Song,” and now it’s time for each section to focus on music for next semester. It’s slightly bittersweet because the department unites very few times throughout the year.

“[The Holiday Concert] is one of only two times when the entire department gets together at the same time. We do an awards concert in the spring that’s kind of the same thing where we feature everybody. But in that one, we take all of our groups, and we make one giant band out of everybody,” Mr. Kurinsky said. “This is kind of the only time where you really get to see all of the individual parts of the department at the same time on a single concert. It’s a neat opportunity.”

If you were absent the day of the assembly or couldn’t make it to the Holiday Concert, you can experience a brief part of the concert by listening to the clip of Chamber Choir performing “Carol of the Bells” above the image at the top of the page. A playlist of most of the songs performed at the show can also be found here. To keep up with all of the Music Department’s future events, make sure you visit their calendar here.