WHS music groups wrap up year with three concerts tonight, next week
WORTHINGTON — These spring days will ring with a trio of musical offerings that will wrap up the year for several District 518 student music groups.
This music-go-round begins at 7:30 p.m. today in the Worthington High School (WHS) gymnasium — incidentally, the site of all three concerts — when the WHS choirs, with Kerry Johnson’s direction, present their Spring Pops Concert.
Next Monday evening, the WHS gym will host all 260 District 518 fourth- through 12th-grade orchestra students (led by Melanie Loy and Aimon Dwan), while the following night is reserved for the WHS band under Jon Loy’s capable baton.
“It’s our pops concert, so it will be much lighter than the others we’ve done this year, with — hopefully — something that will appeal to everyone,” said Johnson of her choirs’ program.
“Time Warp” of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” renown will open tonight’s concert, with all members of the Concert and Trojan Choirs joining in.
“Our concert theme is the evolution of music, so that explains ‘Time Warp,’” said Johnson. “We start from there and go through a bunch of different pop eras and genres.”
For instance, the Concert Choir will sing “Africa” and “Sweet Caroline,” while the Trojan Choir will entertain with “Radioactive” and a Journey medley dubbed “Any Way You Want It.”
“This concert is a chance for the students to choose some of the music and help program the show,” said Johnson. “Usually, more modern and contemporary music is selected.
“All year long they sing the music I give them, but this is a time they can sing what they want to.”
Johnson’s select ensembles will also appear, with the female Bel Canto sharing “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Holding Out for a Hero” and “True Colors,” while the male VOX has the triad of “Good Life,” “Bright Lights, Bigger City/Magic” (a mash-up from the hit movie “Pitch Perfect”) and a medley of “Hey There, Delilah/1, 2, 3, 4.”
The co-ed ensemble, Trojan Express, is set to sing Coldplay’s “Fix You,” and the 18 Class of ’14 choir members will deliver “For Good.”
“This is also the night we present the senior awards, which include the National School Choral Award and the Director’s Award, as well as recognize all students who lettered in choir, received contest awards and auditioned for or were accepted into the 9/10 Honor Choir or All State choirs,” listed Johnson.
Happily, three of Johnson’s choristers did indeed qualify for the 2014-15 Mixed All State Choir: Ivan Parga (tenor), and Bianca Alvarez and Aubrey Anderson (altos), all juniors.
“I was elated to see that many kids getting in,” said Johnson. “And with our Concert Choir chosen for the St. Olaf Choral Festival last November, it’s been an extraordinary year.
“I’m so proud of the work these kids do and the dedication they bring to the music program.”
When it’s the strings’ turn at 7 p.m. May 12, Melanie Loy will present her sixth-graders on the fiddle tune “Stone Mountain Stomp” and “Somewhere Out There,” as well as her combined seventh-/eighth-graders on “A Touch of Ireland” medley and “Go, Go, Go Joseph” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“We tend to have somewhat lighter tunes for the spring, with more of a focus on classical and traditional repertoire during the fall and winter months,” she said. “It’s a change of pace.”
Her high school orchestra will play another fiddle piece, “Mountain Chase,” as well as the Beatles’ “Day Tripper.”
The 87 fourth-graders in Aimon Dwan’s charge, meanwhile, are slated for “Buckeye Salute,” “Grandparents’ Day” and “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore,” while Dwan’s 42 fifth-grade string students will perform “Scarborough Fair” and “Frog in a Tree.”
“Since all the fourth-graders started in the fall, rather than the summer, the year has flown by extremely fast with them,” said first-year teacher Dwan. “This final concert is especially exciting because all the ISD 518 orchestra students will play together.”
Dwan refers to the mass performance of the “Hummel Concertante,” a spring concert-closing tradition Melanie Loy introduced when she joined the Worthington schools in 2006.
“It’s a classical piece in G minor that I grew up with in Fargo, and it’s a fun one to use as a mass orchestra number,” explained Melanie Loy. “There’s a simpler part to use for the elementary grades, and by the time they reach high school, the students practically have it memorized.
“I like to end the concert that way, with everyone involved.”
Season-ending awards, including the National School Orchestra Award, the Beth Habicht Orchestra Award and the eighth-grade orchestra award, will also be part of the evening.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, Jon Loy’s WHS Concert Band will have its spring Band Bash in the WHS gymnasium.
“The spring band concert is where we celebrate the legacy of the Trojan Band through song and story,” expressed Jon Loy, also noting this is the first time the WHS band will appear on its own without either the District 518 middle school bands or another WHS music group.
“In terms of opportunities, that means the high school band can take center stage for an evening, and gives us a special chance to honor our seniors, reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year ahead,” he said.
With 116 band students — only 16 of whom are in the Class of ’14 — Jon Loy anticipates a band of 160 next year, but is nevertheless sad to see his seniors depart.
“Although the senior class is smaller than usual this year, they were strong leaders in terms of their encouragement and support of the band,” he pointed out.
Senior band awards, including the John Philip Sousa Award (a WHS tradition since 1964), the Louis Armstrong Band Award, the National Marching Award and the Leader of the Band Award, will all be revealed, and a reception will follow the concert.
Its program opens with “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” the band’s usual prelude piece for the school’s graduation ceremony, followed by Elliot del Borgo’s “Festa!” which the director calls “a very challenging piece.”
“It stretches across all the band’s sections, and they play independently of each other, but the kids are perfecting the piece quite well,” Jon Loy said.
Also included is “Highlights from ‘Frozen,’” the current film phenomenon.
“We were fortunate to get that. The arrangement of ‘Frozen’ music was so popular we weren’t sure we’d get it,” he revealed. “And yes, the students are really enjoying it.”
A patriotic pairing, capped with Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” will close the concert.
“As the band gets larger, ‘Stars and Stripes’ will be a great signature piece to end future concerts,” Jon Loy said. “We can send everyone forth feeling very upbeat.”
Another reason for celebration is that two of Jon Loy’s band members made the cut for 2014-15 All State bands.
Junior tuba player Orissa Nitibhon will represent Worthington in the All State Concert Band, while sophomore trumpeter Cameron Jenson will play in the All State Symphonic Band.
“It’s always tough to get students into All State groups, and for Worthington to have five kids qualify for either All State bands or choirs this year was very exciting,” said Jon Loy.
“All the kids who auditioned worked very hard, and this is a good reflection of our band’s overall quality.”
The WHS choirs perform at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the WHS gymnasium, 1211 Clary St., Worthington. There is an admission fee, and District 518 activity passes are accepted. The District 518 4th- through 12th-grade orchestra students perform at 7 p.m. May 12 in the WHS gym; due to participation by elementary students, there is no fee. The WHS band performs at 7 p.m. May 13 in the WHS gym; there is an admission fee, and District 518 activity passes are accepted.