On June 1 at 7pm, members of the Mepham orchestra, band, and chorus will put on a musical showcase, which marks the first time many of the Pirates’ music students have performed live in over a year. This is the second Mepham music performance during the unorthodox 2020-2021 school year, the first being the Concert in the Courtyard in the winter. Now, more students are allowed to play together in a larger area, and most of the music students are coming together on the football field to give the Mepham community a performance they will never forget.
I reached out to band director Mr. Brandofino, choral director Ms. Dimitriou, and orchestra director Mr. Franzone to ask all the questions about their preparations for the showcase.
How are you feeling about the showcase?
“I think that this is a good way to make lemonade out of lemons. It’s an opportunity for us to have fun with what we’re doing and a way to use a performance as a fun way to kick off the summer.”
“This performance is not necessarily a concert, it’s more of a showcase and a playing experience for our students. I’m excited for Mepham to allow this showcase to safely happen. It’s a great way to have our ensembles put on one last performance for the year.”
“I’m really excited. This is my first performance with an ensemble as conductor. I’m excited to lead the charge with the orchestra.”
How have you prepared your performing group for the June 1 showcase?
“All our groups are performing together, so it was a matter of finding music that was fun and impactful on the audience.”
“For my kids, it’s been pretty crazy since we’ve had kids switch from virtual and in-person learning. I’m having both concert choirs, mixed choir, and MephAcapella prepare for this performance.”
“We were planning on themed performances under Mrs. Schum, so we picked a few of our favorite pieces along the way when she was gone on maternity leave.”
What sort of music are you preparing for the showcase?
“I picked ‘Siege’ because I felt that this piece has such high energy and is easy to tell a story through. ‘ABBA on Broadway’ and ‘Free Ride’ were fun and popular choices.”
“All the choral groups will be performing together. We will be singing ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ as a tribute for retiring superintendent Mr. DeTommaso, who is a huge Elvis fan. We will also perform ‘Rainbow’ with Kasey Musgraves, and I love the beautiful message this song has. Finally, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is a great sendoff to seniors, and some of our seniors will have solos.”
“We will be playing an exciting piece from the group Black Violin first. Next, we will play a piece called ‘Waltz for the Wicked,’ which is perfect for a high school orchestra. Our students are excited to play ‘You Say Run’ from the anime ‘My Hero Academia,’ and it is a popular choice in our class.”
How have you adapted to changes in the music department for the 2020-2021 school year?
“We have taken so many steps as far as sanitation, using cleaning mist and bell covers to keep everything safe. I’m glad we don’t have to have to use individual tents for each player!”
“There’s changes that have happened for the music department since the first day of school. Our department has done such a great job with distance changes and singing and playing with masks.”
“As a first-year teacher, it was difficult to find the way at times. With orchestra, it was easiest to adapt to the changes, since we don’t need much breath support for our instruments. Social distancing has been easy for us, and staying 6 feet apart was easy for a spread-out room.”
How are you going to make your group perform in the safest way possible outdoors?
“We will be playing at 6 feet apart and have a limited audience. We will space out the performers and play at the current safety measures.”
“There is much planning behind this performance, much more than for a normal concert. Working with the different groups to experiment with outdoor acoustics has been a challenge, but we’re adapting.”
“We will all be spaced out and wearing masks. Microphones will be used to amplify our sound even more. I don’t see much change for the spacing, since that’s what the orchestra students are used to.”
Because of safety measures for COVID, only four guests can come to the showcase per student performer. For those who are not able to attend, BMB will livestream the showcase on their YouTube page at youtube.com/BMBCBroadcasting. The June 1 music showcase is an event the entire Mepham community, especially the music department, is super excited about.