Last updated on December 16, 2019
Four powerful instrumental ensembles joined forces in a Fall Orchestra Concert at the Northwest School. Students have been hard at work learning pieces for the Fall Concert held at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Jo Nardolillo, one of the conductors, commented, “I love being here with these musicians, sharing the stage with them, and getting to show off all the hard work they’ve done. It’s going to be an electric night.” This was the first year in which Ethan Sobotta conducted a number of middle school ensembles. First the Debut Orchestra played an impressive rendition of Ode to Joy, followed by the Middle School Orchestra’s Cancion del Amor and Allegro. Notably, there has been a third addition to the middle school orchestra ensembles, the Advanced Orchestra; this one functioning without a director.
When asked what he was looking forward to most, Elvin Jones, a NWS faculty member, said that he was hoping to see “energy, enthusiasm and connection. I want to see how people are moved by the music they hear.” This performance brought just that. They played three songs, most notably Rosin Eating Zombies from Outer Space, which included not one, or two, but three chilling screams from the members. Audience members were visibly impressed by their cohesiveness and proficiency in self conducting.
Coming off of their recent performance at the NAIS People of Color Conference, the Upper School Orchestra, delighted the audience with Allegretto from Symphony no. 7 and dazzled the audience with Lion City, a song based on a myth about Singapore and the character of the city itself. The musicians used their instruments in a variety of manners to mimic fog, stomping on the ground for precision and incorporating sounds from a variety of cultures. In her introduction of the song, Nardolillo spoke about how the students were able to work with the song’s composer, Soon Hee Newbold, over a Skype session and how that affected its performance. In a spectacular finale, all orchestras, and the NWS Select Choral Ensemble, directed by faculty member Christian Stallworth, came on stage to perform the Game of Thrones theme. A parent commented “I am so moved watching them on stage and watching them grow up year after year.” Bravo and congratulations to everyone involved.