As a part of March is Music Month, music students collaborated to create an amazing night of vocal and instrumental music on March 13. The 90-minute Collaborative Concert is always an excellent performance to go to, and this year was no exception. It gave parents an opportunity to see their own kids who are in band or chorus, and also take a listen to the other wonderful groups performing. While Concert Chorus has only about 20 kids or so, there is still excellent sound quality. Sure, with plenty of foreign pieces, there were some nerves that definitely were on the rise. I assure the nerves were unneeded. After all, students gave a performance that everyone deserved to see!
But, why do we do this almost every year? Seems like tradition to me, and this has been confirmed by band director Mr. Ketchen.
The collaborative concert has been a tradition since before his arrival at Hanover High School in 2008, Mr. Ketchen said. He firmly believes that the tradition is a fantastic way to model both the vocal and instrumental ensembles, without creating a concert that is much too long. When asked if he had a favorite ensemble amongst the larger group, Mr. Ketchen explained that he cannot pick favorites, as he said, “I only compare the ensembles with themselves.” This means that he asks each instrumental group how they feel about their performance over a certain amount of time (a week, 3 days, etc.). Mr. Ketchen and I do share one thing in common: We both love the whole collaboration itself. I personally enjoy the band’s performances every year I’ve been a part of this concert, and I’m sure Mr. Ketchen has enjoyed some of the vocalists performances as well.
Ms. Bertelli, the chorus director, said she enjoys the joining of each of the ensembles. I agree, since the result is usually a wonderful night full of even better music. When Ms. Bertelli is spending some time in the “Music Library,” picking the music that will be performed, she keeps in mind that she wants the audience to say that they “at least loved one piece.” The songs she picked are very diverse, and included, “Cantique de Jean Racine” (French piece), “Salmo 150” (Latin piece), and one of my personal favorites, “Gate Gate” (Indian or Buddhist piece).
Ms. Bertelli said she loves Chorale because they’re the “babies,” who can easily gain a whole new learning experience. She and I both love Concert Chorus because of the fact that we’re all in it together, and that we learn in such a large and educated group. VOX is in her sights as well, due to the fact that the girls are “game” for going over pieces that are worthy of taking to any of the competitions, and those always come out fantastic. Each of these ensembles gave it their all, even if some were performing with the band.
Overall, I felt like this was an amazing experience, especially with the way that the Jazz Ensemble ended the show! It felt like there was a wall of sound all around us the entire night. Ms. Bertelli and Mr. Ketchen told their students that there were some small mistakes they might need to fix for the M.I.C.C.A (Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association) festival, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they both thought the concert was certainly better, in terms of quality, since September, and showed how much students have grown with their hard work.