Music Returns to HHS: Annual Fall Concert is a Success


Tom and Laura McCord Donnelly

Junior Nick Germain prepares to play his solo in the piece “Danse Macabre”

Elena Bryden, Contributing Writer

For the first time since December of 2019, HHS parents and students filled the auditorium for the (somewhat) Annual Fall Concert. With many more watching a Livestream of the concert at home on Zoom, support for the HHS musicians was high. The concert, which took place on Tuesday, October 19th, featured performances from the Chorus, Orchestra, and Band. 

Concert Chorale opened the night with a rendition of the Nigerian Folk Song “E Oru O (A Yoruba Greeting).” They continued, performing South African Praise Song “Gabi, Gabi” and “Tshotsholoza”a Traditional South African tune. The song featured a solo from Senior Max Wanty. Concert Chorale finished their performance for the night with “Bonse Aba,” a Traditional Zambian Song. 

Concert Chorale was followed by Choral Spectrum, an audition-based group composed of students in grades 10-12. The group gave a polished performance of the Traditional Ghana Folk Song “Obwisana (Goin’ to Ghana).” 

After some quick re-arranging, HHS Orchestra took the stage. They performed two pieces; “Adagio from Symphony No. 3, “Organ”, Op. 78” and “Danse Macabre,” both by Camille Saint-Saëns. The second piece, “Danse Macabre”, included a solo from Junior violinist Nick Germain, whose melodies were meant to embody music played by death at the chime of midnight on All Saint’s Day. Before the start of the piece, director Pheadre Sassano explained that Germain’s solo featured special tuning; his e string was tuned down to e flat. The purpose— to create a chord known as “the devil’s music” and evoke an eerie feeling. 

Concert Band was next, performing two pieces; “Military Escort March” by Henry Filmore and “Apparitions” composed by Brian Balmages. Lily Dong was featured as a solo pianist for the piece “Apparitions”. The Wind Ensemble finished the night with the Japanese Folk Song “Fantasy on ‘Sakura Sakura’” and “Double Happiness”, by Joseph Curiale. 

The night, for many HHS music students, seemed to signify the end of a year of musical isolation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and Zoom classes. Because students had previously been unable to play in a group or perform together, the night held extra significance. Junior Ashley Dong, who is a member of the Wind Ensemble, notes that “Music is such a huge part of my life and other people’s too, and I think it brings us together as a community. Last year, we lost that ability and that sense of connectivity.” She remarks that being able to play for the first time in over a year “brought back feelings of happiness and joy. I’m happy to be making music again and excited for what the rest of the year holds” 

 Senior Richie Sommers, who is a member of the Orchestra, expressed a similar excitement at being able to return, saying “It was great to return to the normal style of playing music.” He continues, noting that “After not working together for so long then learning the music while relearning to play together, finally getting to perform was a satisfying end to over a year of uncertainty.” 

The talented members of the HHS Chorus, Orchestra, and Band put on a spectacular fall concert, one that is sure to be remembered in coming years!