By: Will Ennis and Zoe Holzer

College Park High School’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts presented their Winter Band Concert on December 12, 2017. They held it in the Multi-Use room and it featured the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. This concert was a gorgeous display of the talented band program led by the talented directors and music instructors Alexa Tsarnes and Jorge Jiménez.

The Concert Band, directed by Ms. Tsarnas, started off the show with “Overture for Winds” by Charles Carter, which was fast paced and had lovely cut-offs. They continued with a set called the “Three Ayres from Gloucester” by Hugh M. Stuart that contained three nicely contrasting sections. “The Jolly Earl of Cholmondeley” was quick, merry, and light-hearted and was preceded by “Ayre for Eventide” which was slower, and had a more simple emotional layering to it. 

The Fiefs of Wembley” on the other hand had a marching tempo that reminded one of Renaissance era music. Finally, they performed “Hanukkah Highlights” by Chris Sharp, a wonderful song with both cheerful and serious elements; the feeling of Hanukkah is captured nicely.

Next, the Symphonic Band, directed by Mr. Jiménez, began with a jazzy performance of “White Christmas” featuring a quartet of saxophones played by Parker Grube, Kyle Wright, Jacob Benabou, and Drew Morehead. They performed “Cajun Folk Songs” by Frank Ticheli: “La Belle et le Capitaine”, a wandering, adventurous piece, and “Belle”, a somber toned piece. This was followed by “Linden Lea” composed by Ralph Vaughn Williams and arranged by John W. Stout. It was short, flowy, and had echoey with a lovely cutoff. Lastly, “African Holy Night”, arranged by Robert Smith, was performed with a strong tempo; the drums and percussion made for a fun and exciting closure.

Senior Kirt Simmons has been playing flute since 4th grade and is in the Symphonic Band. Simmons shares that his favorite musical memories have involved the overall experience of, “playing with friends and making beautiful music.”

He thought that the concert, “went really well [and had] a nice warm, cozy feeling.”

His sister Elise Simmons, who plays piano and has sung for the College Park Choir Program’s Woman Ensemble, came to see her brother who she reports, “did amazing.”

The last group to play was Wind Ensemble, which was also directed by Mr. Jiménez and they began with “Pineapple Pole: No. 1 Opening Number” composed by Arthur Sullivan and arranged by Charles Mackerras, a playful, Disney-like piece. Kyle Wright had a clarinet solo and Sean McCurdy and Hannah Nilsen both had trumpet solos.

Natalie Christensen, a flute player of nine years in Wind Ensemble, says that her ensemble is in, “regular, periodic competitions,” and that they, “do well in performances like CMEA,” a festival by the California Music Education Association.

She comments that when she messes up in performances, she deals with it by, “trying not to do it again,” and by having “no reaction.” Her little brother and her both also enjoy playing piano together.

Gabby Ceresa, a seven year baritone saxophone player of the same ensemble thought that this performance went, “relatively well”. She said that when mistakes are made, the best option is to “power through.” Her favorite musical memories were when she went to Disneyland in 7th grade and when the band went to Washington DC last year.

They continued with a modern, touching and real song called “One Life Beautiful” by Julie Giroux, which, according to Mr. Jiménez, is about both a dedication to one person as well as them only having one beautiful life to live. Wright and McCurdy returned for second solos. Bailey Ulrich performed a flute solo Jada Ramos a french horn solo in this touching modern piece.

They closed the concert with fun renditions of classic, festive songs such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” arranged by Douglas Wagner, which featured soloists McCurdy and Senior Parker Grube on alto saxophone, and “Christmas March” by Edwin Franko Goldman.

The Winter Band Concert put on by College Park High School’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts was a lovely display of Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, and Symphonic Band talents. Alexa Tsarnes and Jorge Jiménez allowed their students to shine and have inspired their students to keep going, no matter what mishaps may occur in a performance.

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