All-Town Orchestra Concert Highlights Student Talent


Will Sutton

Phaedre Sosanna directs the Chamber Players during their rendition of Raider’s March

Will Sutton, Contributing Writer

The audience for All-Town concerts rarely fits in the venue. At Tuesday’s All-Town Orchestra concert, supportive parents, siblings, and classmates sat in the audience or stood along the walls of the Hingham Middle School auditorium, excitedly murmuring about the night ahead of them.

The March 7th Concert showcased students grades six through twelve, under the direction of both Barbara Gorczyca, who teaches the younger orchestra,  and Phaedre Sassano, who directs the high school orchestra. With the exception of the sixth graders, each respective orchestra played themes or medleys from major motion pictures, which made for an interesting listening experience.

The concert began at 7 P.M. with the HMS Sixth Grade Orchestra’s performance of Star Dancer, a lively piece by Mark Williams, and Storm, a rousing, ominous work by Soon He Newbold. They were followed by the HMS Seventh and Eighth Grade Orchestra, which performed Edward Scissorhands, a medley of music from the movie, composed by Danny Elfman and arranged by Moore. They also performed Jurassic Park, the iconic theme from the original movie, composed by John Williams and arranged by Jennings.

Freshman and orchestra member Chris Setiwan was impressed by the younger students.  He explained that “it’s a lot of fun to see the younger strings community thrive. I feel like the seventh and eighth graders this year really stepped it up, they played high school arrangements, geez!”

As Chris was reeling over the sheer skill of the HMS Orchestra, the HHS Chamber Players took the stage. They are an after-school, audition-only orchestra who work on advanced pieces, under the direction of Mrs. Sassano. The group performed Pirates of the Caribbean, a medley of music from the 2003 movie, composed by Klaus Badelt and arranged by Ricketts.

The Chamber Players were then joined by their classmates onstage to play four more pieces as a full orchestra; however, first, Sophomore Patrick Whamond and Senior Kate Farrell gave short speeches urging the middle school students to remain in the orchestra program.

Patrick discussed at length the ways orchestra has improved his high school experience, and raved about the supportive nature of Mrs. Sassano. Kate shared his enthusiasm, discussing her love of orchestra and concluding, “If you were looking for a sign to continue orchestra, let this be it.”

Immediately after the speeches, the HHS String Orchestra performed Raiders March from “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark”, by John Williams, arranged by Custer. After their successful performance of the piece, band members joined the String Orchestra to perform the last three pieces together.

Trombone player Tim Dwyer expressed his enthusiasm for working with the orchestra. “I think the orchestra concert was lovely, I think they run a great program,” the junior said. “Maybe not quite as good as the band program,” he added jokingly.

The HHS Symphony Orchestra, composed of strings players and band members, concluded with three pieces. Star Wars, the classic theme for the Star Wars series, was an absolute delight. The piece composed by John Williams, included Junior Michael Hill brazenly playing the recognizable trumpet solo, and left at least a few audience members grinning ear-to-ear.

Next came The Lord of the Rings, a medley of music from the first two movies in the trilogy, composed by Howard Shore and arranged by Cerulli and Wagner. The pieces varied from inspiring comfort to sounding ominous and gloomy, in a direct reflection of the emotions of the movies themselves.

Before the final piece, Mrs. Sassano gave a small speech outlining why she chose that work of music. She explained, much to her husband’s embarrassment, that the final piece is his favorite musical work ever, and is, in fact, the ringtone to his phone.

Her husband, Gregg Wachtelhausen, was an Earth Science teacher at Hingham Middle School, but now organizes trips to the American National Parks for students from across the country. His favorite place is the American Southwest, and so, fittingly, the concert concluded with The Magnificent Seven, the theme from the classic Western most recently remade in 2016.

The spirited, distinctly cowboy-ish tone of the piece, composed by Elmer Bernstein and arranged by Philippe, was not one of the most conventional ways to end an orchestra concert; however, it was certainly one of the most exciting.