Holiday Orchestra Concert

The+senior+orchestra+and+about+20+members+of+the+HHS+band%2C+as+well+as+some+alumni%2C+play+%22Sleigh+Ride.%22%0A
The senior orchestra and about 20 members of the HHS band, as well as some alumni, play

The senior orchestra and about 20 members of the HHS band, as well as some alumni, play "Sleigh Ride."

Will Sutton

Will Sutton

The senior orchestra and about 20 members of the HHS band, as well as some alumni, play "Sleigh Ride."

Will Sutton, Photography Editor

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On Thursday, December 21, students, parents, and HHS alumni packed the auditorium for the annual winter orchestra concert, which featured performances from the Freshman Orchestra, Chamber Players, and the Orchestra (composed of sophomores, juniors, and seniors).

Addressing the crowd before the show began, director Phaedre Sassano emphasized that, for the first time in several years, the freshmen have been in an ensemble all their own; due to large numbers, Sassano was forced to separate the orchestras, but she stressed that the freshmen are playing complex music that she would expect from upperclassmen.

The Freshman Orchestra performed three pieces: “Allegretto,” a movement from Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, “Nimrod,” from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and the classic “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. Each piece was impressively done, from the dramatic “Allegretto” to the triumphant, familiar “Hallelujah Chorus.”

“I really liked [Nimrod], their second piece,” remarked junior Elisabeth Heissner, with her friend, junior Lydia Gross, adding, “For a young crew, they sounded great.”

After the Freshman Orchestra, Chamber Players took the stage. The small ensemble is audition-based and composed of students from every grade level. Among the players were Kate Gillig, Emma Sommers, and Will Procter, three students who were accepted by audition into the MMEA Southeastern Senior District Music Festival. Amory Ling, a freshman who will participate in the MMEA Southeastern Junior District Music Festival, is also a member of the ensemble.

The Chamber Players performed two movements from Two Norwegian Airs, Op. 63 by Edvard Grieg. The first movement, “Im Volkston,” was an arrangement from a popular Nordic folk song. It was hauntingly tender, sinking into complex segments of dissonance before resolving in bittersweet triumph. The second movement, “Kuhreigen und Bauertanz,” was equally technically impressive, though much more boisterous; it contrasted the first movement without dramatically diverging from the overarching character of the Grieg’s piece. “They really knew their stuff,” observed junior Nick DeSilva.

The final ensemble of the night was the Orchestra. The musicians filled the stage, clearly justifying the aforementioned creation of the freshman chorus. The Orchestra performed four pieces: “Themes” from Bedrich Smetana’s The Moldau, as arranged by Frost; Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie; Symphony No. 4, Op. 90 ‘Italian’, 1st mvt by the great Felix Mendelssohn; and Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Sophomore Will Bryant, who plays viola for the Orchestra, was also featured as a solo pianist in the second piece, Gymnopedie No. 1. Juniors Lydia Gross, Elisabeth Heissner, and James Winikoff unanimously agreed that this was their favorite piece of the night.

The final performance of the night is a new tradition at Hingham High: for the last three years, the Orchestra and members of the HHS band, as well as some alumni, have joined forces to play Leroy Anderson’s holiday classic, Sleigh Ride. It was a spirited, upbeat end to the night, leaving audience members buzzing with holiday spirit.

Directer Phaedre Sassano directs the Chamber Players as they begin Im Volkston, the first movement of "Two Norwegian Airs."

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