DVHS music department strikes a good note to start its season

The Dougherty Valley music department put on an energetic, interactive fall concert on Oct. 3-4 to showcase its collective talent and offer a glimpse into its plans for the rest of the music season. The concert exhibited a variety of different musical styles to engage the audience, from the melodiously eclectic tune of “Scenes from the Louvre” by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble on the first night to the heavy, darker tune of Chamber Orchestra’s “Stucke” on the closing night.

The fall concert began with Jazz Concert seamlessly performing a rendition of “Good Time Charlie,” a piece featuring an open chorus and unison melodies by saxophone organizer Lennie Niehaus, which they accentuated with various solo segments. Jazz, a musical genre grounded in spontaneous improvisations, thrives on showcasing individuality within a band. However, junior Andi Liu, who plays the tenor saxophone, also stresses the component of teamwork in making Jazz Band a smoothly functioning group.

“I think that it’s really important [for our playing] that we not only know each other well as, like, players, but also get to know each other well as friends. This makes our music much more cohesive and nuanced,” he said.

The Jazz segment concluded with “Bounce House,” a fun, fast tune reminiscent of the bebop style of the 1940’s that held a personal connection to band director Ms. Teri Musiel due to her connection with the composer of the arrangement, Mike Dana.

After a brief interlude, the significantly larger Wind Ensemble group took the stage to perform “The Marriage of Figaro,” a dramatic Mozart classic that struck a familiar tune with much of the audience.

Switching gears completely, the Wind Ensemble then played “Walking into History” by Richard Saucedo, giving the concert some political charge. A reflection on the monumental Brown V. Board of Education case, the arrangement reflected the torrent of emotions — fear, confusion, hope — felt by the residents of the first desegregated high school after the court case, Clinton High School.

Deisha Adhishesh, who plays the alto saxophone in the Wind Ensemble, explained how the music department is striving to connect its music to larger global events.

“We want to show that music does have an impact on the world’s events. It’s not just for listening purposes, and we want the audience to be able to realize that too. It’s part of a larger narrative.”

After Wind Ensemble’s closing song, “The Thunderer,” Symphonic Wind Ensemble began their segment of the concert. Keeping with the theme of unconventional audience engagement exhibited throughout the concert, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble first played “Scenes from the Louvre,” a musical tour of the Louvre museum. Audience members flipped through pictures of the corresponding exhibits on their devices to feel the full effect of the piece. After a light transitional piece, “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Grainger, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble directly involved the audience through their piece “Overture in Five Flat.” The band requested the audience to time them on their devices as they attempted to play the piece in under five minutes. As the time mark approached, audience members leaned off the edge of their seats, intently staring at the band and their phones as they enjoyed the last piece of the night.

The music department continued their fall concerts the next night with Chamber Orchestra, who opened the show with a light serenade, Edward Elgar’s Serenade for strings in E minor. Orchestra then switched things up with a more contemporary piece, “Remember Me” from the Disney movie “Coco.” The heartfelt song stirred the audience’s emotions with  its wistful lyrics. Chamber Orchestra then ended their performance with a dance tune, “Cumbia y Congo,” from Danzas de Panama. Based on a Panamanian folk song, the fast and high-spirited song gave a refreshing finish to their performance.

After the 15 minute intermission, Women’s Ensemble entered the stage. The girls-only group sang three unique songs — a Zambian folk song, an Italian Aria, and an Irish folk song. Each song was thoughtfully prepared and included add-ons like percussion accompaniment, piano accompaniment and choreography.

Treble Clef then joined Women’s Ensemble on the stage to perform a rendition of the classical makeover scene from “Wicked.” Their voices rang harmoniously as they sang the song “Popular.”

After Women’s Ensemble departed the stage, Treble Clef sang three songs of their own. Their voices crescendoed in harmony as they sang “You Are the New Day.” They then went for a change of pace with a groovy Cuban salsa song, “Cantar!” They finished with “Take Me to the Water,” an upbeat traditional African American song.

Concert Choir then  entered the stage, performing a solemn yet passionate performance of “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners.” The group seamlessly transitioned to an American classic, the folk song “Shenandoah.” Their voices soared as they sang the longing lyrics.

Chamber Singers showed off their wide vocal range in “Exsultate Deo,” a peaceful and joyous song. They slowed the tempo as they transitioned into “Underneath the Stars.” The group quickly sped it up again as they sang to a faster song, “Salseo.”

Concert Choir and Chamber Singers finally closed the show with a South African freedom song, “Tshotsholoza,” or “go forward.” Meant to be an audience send off, the song was a crowd favorite and drew a standing ovation, a fitting conclusion to a great series of performances.