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Winter Orchestra and Chorus concerts dazzle

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By PARKER KOONS –  This past February 8, the IHS Music Department held a Choral and Orchestra concert. Teachers and conductors Mr. Scott Salser and Ms. Julianne Laird controlled the scene with their choirs and musicians.

Laird was very pleased with her group which performed Mendelssohn’s “Sinfonia 7” commenting, “It was a major work for us, and we worked diligently with a lot of small details that came together beautifully in concert.  We were working with an original score, not an arrangement, so it was a particularly significant performance for us.” She also remarked on the concert that, “I accidentally omitted a couple of names from the program!  Jenna Monteleone is our harpist, and Herb Watson was back there on string bass. We had special copies of the program, with their names included made up for them.”  

Laird also commented on the joy of working with her colleagues saying, “It is such an honor to work with our performing arts department team!!!  We are all great friends and help each other in many ways.  Mr. Salser and I have been friends since we were soloists in District and Regional Chorus as seniors in high school!  He grew up in Knox, PA, and I grew up here, but music gave us a chance to become friends long before we worked together!”

The hard-working orchestra students earned the praise and respect of everyone involved in the concert.  Six IHS students placed in the seating auditions at District Orchestra:  Brandon Wu was the concertmaster, and  Joanna Li was Brandon’s stand partner at second chair.  It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of these students that they earned first and second chairs in the first violin section.  Also, in the Violin 1 section, Gloria Lo placed 7 chair.  In the Violin 2 section, Matthew Conjelko was 3 chair, and Joel Moore 4 chair.  Scott Mitsko even surprised himself, as he was awarded second chair in the bass section!  “You should have seen the look on his face when that seating was announced,” commented Laird, who also mentioned that the Orchestra was preparing for the Western Regional State Orchestra festival, which will be held on March 9 – 11 at DuBois.

Salser kept the concert going strong with his three choirs; Women’s, Men’s, and A Capella. Salser stated that he thought the concert went beautifully, “It was interesting working with an overall theme in mind as each of the pieces the ensembles performed had some connection to the show’s theme of As a Child…

Though some of the tunes everyone learned as small children, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and the nursery rhyme of  “Pat-a-Cake,” it was amazing to see what a composer can do to arrange such a simple tune for more advanced choirs.” Salser also acknowledged that he felt the familiarity of the pieces lent well to both the singers’ voices and the audience’s ears adding,  “All of the groups performed very well, but I was especially proud of the maturity of sound from Women’s Chorus for this concert. Their unisons on “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” and their harmonies on the spiritual “Walk Together, Children” were all done so well.”

All and all, the concert was well-received. Jacob Valentine stated,  “I think it went smoothly and there weren’t any problems. I think it was one of our better concerts.”

[Photo by Parker Koons]

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