Winter concerts return to normalcy

Kimberly Nadler, Layout & Photography Editor

February 2023 Edition

This December, the musical groups at Mepham had their winter concerts. This is the first concert that is back to somewhat normalcy since the pandemic.
Throughout the school year, the band, orchestra, and choir have been working hard towards their musical goals so that they are able to showcase what they have been working on at the winter and spring concerts. Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, the past few concerts have been slightly different. It was broadcasted through online recordings early on during the pandemic. As more restrictions were lifted, students were allowed to have in-person concerts while wearing masks, but the number of guests allowed per student was also limited. At this past winter concert, all of the previous restrictions were lifted and we were able to hear from students from all of the music programs on their thoughts on the return to normalcy.
This year, the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble played “Defying Gravity, A Walk in the Park,” which was composed by 1957 Mepham graduate, Carl Strommen, and “Christmas in Kyiv,” composed by current Mepham senior Samantha Nadler. One of the band presidents, Anna Fornaro, weighed in on her experience this concert. She says, “It was definitely exciting but also a little scary since I wasn’t sure how everything would play out. Everyone has worked so hard to sound as professional as possible but with the setback of COVID, we have just struggled in that endeavor. However, I believe we played well and I’m proud of how we did.” We also heard from the band director, Mr. Brandofino, who said, “It’s really good to see us thriving again.” Now that restrictions have been lifted, the bands will be able to stand alone and play separately for the spring concert, rather than combined as they have been for the past few concerts.
“Libertango, Prelude to the Holberg Suite,” a medley of songs from “The Polar Express,” and the theme from “The Avengers” were the pieces played by the advanced orchestra. Sophomore Eloise Hannula said, “It was really exciting to finally have a normal concert without masks and everything. We all had a lot of fun preparing for it and it went great!” Senior Sean Seligman, also of the advanced orchestra, spoke about his experience. He comments, “It was great to finally be back to ‘normal’. It was the first concert I’ve had since freshman year without masks, and I think we sounded the best we ever had.” Seligman also touched on how the restrictions impacted the orchestra as a whole, saying, “Without the COVID restrictions, I felt closer to my fellow musicians, which is extremely important when you perform together. Because of our closer bond and developed chemistry, the concert was so much better than it has been.” With all that Mepham’s musicians have gone through in the past few years, being able to come together as a group and finally having a concert without restrictions has made the connection between the students much stronger than it has in years past.
The pieces sung by the concert choir were titled “900 Miles,” “Found/Tonight,” “Christmas Carols,” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” Abigail Stein, a senior, was very excited about the concerts coming back, and said, “It was really great to finally have a normal concert. Seeing the community that is built with Mepham Choirs every year and being able to make music the way we used to and haven’t in so long was magical. We were able to sound like a more cohesive group, and do more difficult music. I’m extremely lucky to have a leadership position in this year’s choir, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us!” Sinead Pierce, a junior, enjoyed her experience this year, and told us, “So far Concert Choir this year has truly been amazing, and having a concert without the restrictions of masks and distancing from the few years prior has been a great gift for starting junior year. Ms. Dimitriou chose an incredible collection of songs for us to sing, and I think all of the group performances at the winter concert were a great way to start the season!” All of the students in performing groups at Mepham have been very excited to get their programs back up and running like usual.
Although the last few years have been challenging for the music department, this past winter concert was a success. All of the musicians are excited for the return to normalcy and to show everyone what they can accomplish.