On a cold evening in January, proud parents and siblings, staff, and members of the public turned out to watch the student musicians and vocalists at Montclair High School perform.
The 2007 MHS Winter Concert was as notable for its variety as it was for its level of accomplishment. Led by music teachers James Wasko and Boyce Ennis, the evening's performances ranged from classical music to jazz to the haunting strains of an African folk solo for voice.
Beginning the program, the string orchestra performed the world-famous "Brandenburg Concerto No. 1" (first movement) by Joann Sebastian Bach. The orchestra then veered to American folk music with "Deep River" before returning to the classical mode with Mozart's "Symphony No. 25." The string orchestra was conducted by Mr. Wasko.
Vocalists then had their chance to shine, as the Mixed Chorus performed "We Gather Here Together" featuring guest solo conductor Thomas Jenkins, assisting Mr. Ennis. The Chorus followed up with "It's Snowing," an original song composed by Mr. Ennis, and the traditional favorite "Let it Snow/Winter Wonderland."
Joked Mr. Ennis, "This morning as we were rehearsing ["Let it Snow"], something happened" -- referring to the first winter snowstorm of the year. "It was kind of spooky."
The Mixed Chorus finished with "Your Imagination," another original piece by Mr. Ennis.
Mr. Wasko then returned to the stage with the Concert Band, which performed "March of the Roughnecks," "Beyond the Breaking Tides," and "A Huntingdon Celebration" in succession.
Next on stage were the Honor Choir, which performed three beloved songs -- "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Winter Troika Ride," and "Cantate Canon" -- expressing a range of styles, periods and interpretations. The fourth and final song performed by the Honor Choir was "Wishes," another Boyce Ennis original.
The Jazz Band was the last instrumental group to perform, beginning its set with "Let Freedom Swing." Throughout this number and the two that followed, "The Chicken" and "Blue Hue," soloists including bass, saxophone and piano players, alternately took the stage.
Wrapping up the evening, the Madrigal Choir performed "I Delight in All Your Beauty" by Giovani Gastoldi before switching genres and continents. The Choir's second number, "Bonse Aba," is a traditional Zambian song in which senior soloist Omari Holtz took the melody line. The Choir then performed "Voice Dance III" before concluding with the beloved Irish lament to love, "O Danny Boy."