Instrumental Concert Spreads Holiday Cheer

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Jimmeaha Mack, Staff Reporter

For the first time in West music history, on Thursday, December 14th, at 7 o’clock at night, the Downingtown West Orchestra and Concert, Symphonic and Jazz Bands not only performed a concert, but teamed up with the Orchestra and Symphonic band at the conclusion of the concert to provide the audience with a special rendition of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

The night began with both a performance by a string quartet and a video dedicated to the band parents who helped the marching band with various aspects throughout their entire season. The video was created and produced by two seniors, Caitlyn Longenecker (‘18) and Jimmeaha Mack (‘18), and included video messages from various members of the band as well as the director, Mr. Ed Otto, himself. The thank you video earned very positive feedback and reactions from all concertgoers. Mrs. Mary Ann Otto said it was “such a thoughtful sentiment from the band members to the parents. [I was] very impressed with their video. It’s so nice to see teenagers express their thanks and be so appreciative to such a wonderful group of parents.”

After the debut of the video, the concert officially kicked off with the Downingtown West Concert Band, who played two songs, “Greensleeves” and “Silent Night.”  After the concert band, small ensembles played, including a flute ensemble comprised of students Kellan Mozzone (‘20), Chloe Nedved (‘20), Abby Pincus (‘19) and Caitlin Sparhawk (‘19); they were followed by a multi-instrument ensemble featuring Sara Gray (‘19), Elizabeth Geiger (‘19), Megan Baillargeon (‘20), and Jared Peterson (‘18), who composed the piece that was played. Next up in the program was the Symphonic Band who also played two songs, “A Holiday Piece” and “Legacy of Honor.” To close out the band portion of the concert was the Jazz Band, comprised of trumpets, trombones, baritones, saxophones, guitars, a piano, and various percussion instruments; they played “God Rest Ye Merry Little Gentlemen,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” and “Cheesecake.” Symphonic trumpet Nate Cornelius (‘18) said of the concert, “I thought the concert was a success and everyone had an amazing time prepping for the holiday season with some catchy tunes. My personal favorite part was combining with the orchestra for the seniors’ last holiday song at Downingtown!”

When the band finished their segment, the Downingtown West Orchestra came onto the stage to perform their portion of the concert, including six songs titled: “Brandenburg Concerto #6,” “Gesu Bambino,” “L’Shana Haba’a,” “The Gift,” “Winter Palace,” and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”  To close out the concert, the Downingtown West Symphonic Band joined the Orchestra on stage to perform “Sleigh Ride” conducted by the orchestra teacher, Stephanie Gonzalez. The entire concert, although long, included very talented students, and went very well according to the band director, Mr. Otto, saying “I think the concert went much better than last years concert…it was very neat having the string there, it really added variety.”  Senior viola player, Sophie Bradbury, said her favorite song was “definitely, ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’,” and, regarding her feelings of this being her last holiday orchestra concert at West, “I am not sad at all because we still have a spring concert, and I’m considering continuing playing viola in college.”

A job well done to all the talented performers, and congratulations on hosting yet another amazing and festive concert for the community!