McLean Orchestra Hosts Fall Concert

McLean’s orchestra program starts off the year with their first concert


The McLean Orchestra had its fall concert last Tuesday, with performances from all four orchestras ending with a piece performed by all of the orchestra combined.

Starting off the evening, the Concert Orchestra played two pieces by Susan Day, “Tango D’Amour” and “Autumn Vows.” The orchestra transitioned from a snappy tango to an emotional performance of “Autumn Vows,” keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Wrapping up their section, the Concert Orchestra then performed “Rise of Olympians” by Brian Balmages. This piece was intended to represent the feeling of the triumph of the Olympians, which the orchestra brought with their energy. First violinist Ramez Kranfli, second violinist Jay Ben-Nassar, violist Rama Istandar, cellist Nayan Balebail and pianist Rafayel Sargsyan led the Concert Orchestra to demonstrate their knowledge of their instruments.

Following the Concert Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra started their collection of pieces with “Pi Tunes (Opus 3.14159).” This lighthearted melody used pi as an inspiration, by using the first 32 digits of pi and assigning each digit to a degree of the major scale. After this invigorating performance, the Symphonic group played “American Princess,” a sentimental piece by Bob Phillips. Ending with a well-known collection, they then played a selection from “Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Weber in honor of its transition off of Broadway this upcoming February. An orchestral classic, this piece was a crowd-pleaser that many in the audience recognized.

The Sinfonia group took the stage after the Symphonic Orchestra performed their selection, and started their performance with the song “Argent Edge” by Doug Spata. A dramatic piece, the group performed with a fiery tone which set an intense mood for the following pieces. Their next piece juxtaposed this mood, as it was the American folk tune “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar. This mellow piece created a sense of longing, with a solo from Nicoletta Hoffman which then transitioned into an orchestra-wide emotional performance. The next piece included two more solo performances, with Jenny Ryu on the violin and Marie-Delphine on the bass during the Sinfonia Orchestra’s exciting performance of “The Emerald Falcon.”

“I learned about a numerous amount of pieces and how so many different styles and techniques that a composer uses are implemented in these pieces to make them come alive,” violinist Neha Pamidala said. “The best part of Sinfonia’s performance was how, despite some minor mishaps, we ultimately came together to give a great performance with our pieces.”

Lastly, the Philharmonic group came to the stage and started their section of the concert with movements from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K. 525.” Starting with the first movement, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” meaning “a little night music,” the orchestra played the well-known piece and then transitioned into the third movement, the “Minuetto.” After this upbeat and shorter part of the serenade, the Philharmonic Orchestra ended their Mozart performance on a high note with his fifth movement from the collection, the “Rondo”. After their strong start with Mozart, Philharmonic then moved to the Russian composer Alexander Glazunov’s “The Enchanted Castle.” A slow piece, “The Enchanted Castle” displayed the harp’s beautiful sound along with the haunting melody played by the orchestra. Ending the Philharmonic performance was their rendition of the piece “España” by Emanuel Chabrier. This fast-paced piece was inspired by traditional Spanish music, such as the plucking of Spanish guitar and the traditional dances of the country.

“My favorite piece was probably the Mozart, [Serenade No. 13] because it was a little tricky, but mostly just enjoyable,” violist Lee Davis said. “It was fun to play, and it’s always great to have a piece we recognize.”

Just as the concert would usually wrap up, all of the orchestras got together to perform one last song, a Halloween classic that delighted audience members of all ages. All of the orchestra members gathered on stage and in the aisles of the auditorium to perform the piece together, and after practices inside and outside of school, the piece flowed well and the entire orchestra brought the song “Thriller” to life.