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Westerly’s Music Program Put on a Wonderful Holiday Concert

Marissa Berardo, Staff Reporter

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The WHS Chorus and Symphonic Band regaled guests with a “Winter Pops” performance on December 15th in a Ward Auditorium decorated with suspended snowflakes, garland, and lighted Christmas trees.

Dressed in black robes, the chorus began with a traditional piece sung in Latin.  A holiday mash-up followed, with “This is Halloween” and other selections from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and “Double Trouble” from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They also sang “Somewhere in My Memory” from Home Alone.

WHS Music Director Sarah Ferry said, “Each year for Holiday Pops, I try to take advantage of the opportunity to perform outside of the “Christmas Music Classics” expectations. I find that movie soundtracks like Harry Potter, Home Alone, Jurassic Park, and The Nightmare Before Christmas are still as festive and entertaining as holiday music while challenging the students as musicians, and also being sensitive to the various backgrounds of our performers and audience members.”

After a brief intermission, the symphonic band took the stage with a medley of five songs from West Side Story. The theme from Jurassic Park was also among their selections.

Ferry was pleased with both the choral and band performances.

She said, “I believe that both groups performed well. Last year we graduated a very large and talented class of musicians from both Band and Chorus. Because of that, this is a building year. The students are rising to the reputation of the ensembles and working hard to master their repertoire, while improving vocally and on their instruments.”

The chorus and the band share several strengths, according to Ferry.

“The groups are both passionate about achieving high levels of musicianship, and putting on great performances,” she said. “Many of the students take independent practice seriously, which is great for them as musicians, and is infectious musically in the ensembles.”

“I find that the WHS students seem to have a more thorough understanding the importance of good tone and intonation,” said Ferry. “These two concepts are not easy for high school musicians to master, especially in an ensemble setting. It is something that I take pride in with the students. I tell them ‘it doesn’t matter how fast or high you can play and sing if you are not in tune.'”

In terms of areas needing improvement, Ferry said, “I think the weaknesses of the students here are pretty typical across most high school ensembles: the students need to learn to sight read music at a higher level, and increase their dexterity and ranges on their instruments, and vocally.”

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Westerly’s Music Program Put on a Wonderful Holiday Concert