Performance on a Winter Night

Students in musical classes prepare for the upcoming winter concerts on December 14th-15th.

The Marriotts Ridge band, choir, and orchestra are full of musically talented students who are ready to present their skills. After months of preparation, these students are set to perform on December 14th and 15th. With the astounding talent they show in each concert they perform in, the Stallion takes a look at the music department’s preparations for the big event.
Concerts require a certain standard of skill and preparation to please the audience. The advanced Wind Ensemble has some of the most challenging pieces out of the three levels in the band. Their complicated pieces require a great deal of practice.
“We need time to get everything in order by the time of the concert and ensure everything is in near-perfect detail,” senior oboist Dominic Duncan said.
The students must put in considerable effort and practice to reach their desired results. Therefore, a significant amount of time is needed to refine their playing.
“My expectation is that we can take a piece from zero to performance in about six weeks,” said band director Mr. Ellis.
Mr. Ellis chooses the music the band will perform throughout the year, guides the rehearsals and creates the practice schedule for the band. He describes what the performers do once they receive their music sheets at the beginning of the six weeks.
“We sight read, which is playing the music for the first time at sight, and it helps determine whether we’re going to play the piece because if they can’t sight read it at a certain confidence level, then that can tell us a lot,” Ellis explained.
The organization of their preparation is essential for the ensembles to be ready on time. Every class is different in some way when it comes to rehearsing, and for orchestra, it works with trusting the students first.
“We get individual time to work on it, and as a class, we try to play it together. Then, [we] go by parts,” said sophomore violin player Grace Choe.
As students play more of their songs and pass the beginning stages of understanding a piece, the problems they face often become more specific, and therefore more difficult to solve.
According to Mr. Ellis, these problems faced by the band tend to be “tempo, timing, and intonation, especially for kids this age.”
Often times, these issues wear off the more students practice.
Despite having ample time to prepare, some students still feel the pressure come performance night.
“[I am] usually really nervous, but the nervous feeling goes away eventually, and it’s still fun even with the nervousness,” choir singer sophomore Amy Park said.
The students’ constant drive to improve their playing and will to continue playing emphasizes the joy music can bring to these students.
“It’s awesome in the end to hear everyone applaud for the work you’ve done,” Duncan said.
This year’s Winter Wonderland will feature many skilled musical students and their talented directors who work hard to deliver a great show. After a great deal of preparation, the music ensembles present holiday jingles to the ears of many.