The Joint Winter Concert was hosted by the NHS orchestra, chorus and concert band on Dec. 8 as a way to ring in the festive season. The performance was made possible through the musicians’ utilization of skills learned during the beginning of the school year.
“The process of preparing for a concert would be like any sport or taking SAT/ACT practice,” Orchestra and Chorus Director Nicolas Contreras-Torres said. “Musicians have to be constantly conditioning their basic techniques and music reading skills. Even some of their practice is done without [an] audition.”
The transition from the competitive marching season to a concert was challenging for band members. Marching band performances are held on the field, while concerts are performed on a stage. Despite the contrasting acoustics and more advanced music pieces, the young musicians were still able to put on an impressive show.
“The listening environment is different and the music is typically more challenging,” Band Director Steven McGuire said. “It just meant more time spent in the classroom working on the details of performing and getting used to a new performing environment.”
The performance involved all students enrolled in the three musical electives offered at NHS. Some members were able to not only watch their own classmates perform, but also have the opportunity to listen to the many different instruments.
“My favorite aspect of the concert was that all the music departments performed at once, so we got to hear each other,” freshman orchestra member Julianne Elwell said.
The Joint Winter Concert involved holiday classics, modern tunes and pieces that would align with the curriculum. “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and a popular song from the music group Wham! are a few examples of the diverse arrangement of music.
“The music that is decided for each performance is primarily based on the students’ technique and music reading skill, as well as to be able to match the theme for the performance,” Contreras-Torres said.
The concert was the outcome of the collaboration between McGuire and Contreras-Torres. Due to their ability to easily work together, the process of coordinating the winter celebration ran smoothly. Each director had a role in the performance planning, contributing to the success of the overall event.
“He [Contreras-Torres] designed the program for the night, and we just kind of talked about in advance how the thing would flow from one event to the next,” McGuire said.