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The Halls Are Alive With the Sound of Music

Emily Kowal ’12
Web A&E Editor


Music to their ears: The orphenians, a group composed of the school’s elite vocalists, is honoring the 50th anniversary of its creation this year. | Photo by Madeline Hardy

After 50 years, generations of Orphenians will come together in a concert to celebrate this milestone.

To kick off their 50–year anniversary, director Alice Lipson is bringing the founding director of the Orphenians, George Wiegle, to Staples to conduct a number at the performance.

“I am hoping that we will be able to bring our performance level to new heights,” director Alice Lipson said.

To add to the excitement, Orphenian alumni have been invited not only to attend, but also to sing at the concert. Additionally, this year the group has given new opportunities to numerous sophomores in anticipation of the concert.

“This will be a special moment as I, as I’m sure many others, will feel a connection of the generations,” Alan Southworth ’10 said.

Preparations for this project have recently begun, as the group will learn new music as well as songs from past performances to try to spark alumni memories.

During preparations, the Orphenians have an additional challenge most music groups do not have to worry about.

“Every note, every rhythm, every word of text must be committed to memory for the group to really perform well,” Lipson said. “That is a challenge but, ultimately, it makes the difference in presenting a program that communicates the message of the music to perfection.”

Chamber Orchestra

Viola Virtuoso: Together, Alexandra Wismer ’10 (above) and bassist Emily Messina ’10 are one of several pairs that will perform duets at the chamber orchestra’s next concert.| Photo by Madeline Hardy

The strings of the Chamber Orchestra are pairing up in unusual duets for their upcoming concert.

In the Orchestra’s quickly approaching All City Concert in February, they will be trying a different type of performance. Along with pieces from the whole group they will perform numerous duets including a very uncommon duet of a viola and a bass. These two instruments are rarely put together for a duet.

“The two most forgotten instruments! It should be a cool thing to see,” Emily Messina ’10 said. Messina is playing bass in the duet.

The duo is performing the Sinfonia Concertante by Karl Ditters Von Dittersdorf.

However, along with a duet comes twice the difficulty; if one player messes up it may throw off both players.

“The most challenging thing about playing as a duet is that the players can be unpredictable,” Messina said, “It just takes a lot of practice to feel comfortable playing with each other.”

Even though this is a challenge the meticulous preparation should ease the difficulty. Valovich believes that the group is already in great shape for February.

Other than being a challenge, performing a duet comes with benefits as well. Messina said it pushes her to practice because she knows that every note she plays will be heard.

She is looking forward to the finished product, when all of the harmonies and rhythms will come together in a beautiful performance.

Jazz Band

Just play that funky music: Jazz band saxophonists Austin Alianiello ’12 (left) and Wes Langham ’10 (right) practice a swinging jazz tune. | Photo by Madeline Hardy

Playing to their own beat, the Staples Jazz Band is working on mastering the art of improvisation.

Director Nicolas Mariconda has been teaching each player how to improvise in order to have as many students as possible perform solos in their upcoming concert.

Improvisation creates a clean slate where players can essentially come up with what ever they are feeling.

“Part of the magic of jazz is the energy and vitality that comes out through the solo as well as the excitement and freshness of hearing something that’s never been played before,” trumpet player Cameron Bruce ’10 said.

However, creating a simple solo isn’t so clear–cut. Before a player even attempts an improvisation they must learn the chords and scales of the type of music on which they want to improvise. Bruce finds that the best way to practice is by playing along with records and transcribing solos.

It is not just about the chords though; some players feel that getting a natural relaxed sound can be the hardest part of improvising.

“You really have to just play what you feel. However, getting to the point where you can do that can be difficult,” Justin Lustbader ’12 said.

Even once all of these skills are learned, there is still the possibility a solo could go well or crumble to the ground.

“A bad solo can be embarrassing, but the exhilaration of playing something great is one of the best feelings in the world,” Bruce said.

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