The soloists were not alone on stage, but rather had the support of an entire orchestra. In each piece, there were moments of just the orchestra, just the soloist and periods of overlap between the two. After their solos, more than one featured musician went to join the orchestra and to accompany the next soloist.
Jocelyn Stedman bravely began the night of music with her cello. Performing Koi Nidrei’s “Opus 57,” a slow, understated piece, Jocelyn’s playing blended perfectly with the many string instruments on stage. Yun Ji Kim, the only singer for the evening, demonstrated her amazing vocal ability with a light piece by Joseph Haydn. The soprano performer hit all the high notes with skill and spirit.
Donna Williams introduced Brandon Chow’s timpani solo by saying it would be something the audience had never heard before, which proved correct. Brandon showed the diversity the timpani drum was capable of as well as his own incredible skill as a percussionist. Victor Ma followed with another more unusual instrument: the marimba. Sometimes playing with two mallets in each hand, Victor created a complex cacophony that built to an exciting finish with the orchestra.
Clayton Fair dazzled with his violin solo, performing an intricate and exultant piece by Ottorino Respighi. He and the Grade 10 and 11 Orchestra received a fervent round of applause. Stephen Lam was the first pianist to take the stage and he showed great dexterity in playing a demanding piece from Mozart, a delicate and powerful piano solo.
Harpist Christina Chwyl played beautifully, giving a unique and graceful performance of an airy, haunting tune. Lisa Chen capped off the night with a challenging piano piece, playing with speed and grace. The finale included an impressive collaboration with the orchestra, including bits of mimicry.
With a strong finish to a remarkable concert, the audience rose to their feet to give all of the musicians a standing ovation. Head of School Bob Snowden was one of those ecstatic audience members and he wrote about the event on his blog.