Melodies From the Middle School

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by Donna Williams, Head of Music

Anyone who was fortunate enough to be at UVic this Monday evening, was treated to an eclectic outpouring of music by the SMUS Middle School music program. Every student in Grades 6 through 8 was represented in this concert, both in the choirs and in the instrumental ensembles.

The concert began with the Grade 8 Choir singing “Hey, Soul Sister” one of the most loved pop tunes in popular music history. It was followed by the haunting hit song from the 70s “Through the Eyes of Love” and featured a beautiful solo sung by Grade 8 student Ethan Otto.

Listen to “Hey, Soul Sister”: 01 Track 1

Next up was the Grade 7 Choir, singing “Greensleeves” with beautiful harmonies and an expressive line and following it up with the softer song “Bright Eyes.” The Grade 6 Choir ended the choral part of the program with an audience favorite: a medley of songs from The Sound of Music. All three choirs were expertly prepared and led by Duncan Frater and accompanied by Wendy Silver, a last minute replacement who was clearly up to the task.

Listen to “Bright Eyes”:05 Track 5

The bands, led by Ian Farish, came next with the Middle School Jazz Band leading the way. They began with “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” – starting with a gospel style and moving into a strong rock’n’roll beat. This was followed by “Cantaloupe Island,” which featured many strong solos performed by some brave and accomplished soloists. The Grade 6/8 First Year Band were also on stage and joined the Jazz Band in spirited renditions of “Louie, Louie” and a Cuban tune called Mambo #5 which had the audience clapping along with the music. Always a good sign!

Listen to “Canteloupe Island”:08 Track 8

The Grades 7/8 Combined Band was very strong and played the theme music from the popular western The Magnificent Seven. This was followed by a lovely lullaby and the Spanish piece “Andalucia.” Dancers Jordan Kerr and Josie Tamburri choreographed their own dance to this evocative piece and performed it with grace and finesse.

Listen to “Andalucia”: 03 Track 3

The strings program presented the last section of the concert. Mary Smith introduced each piece by way of a well-chosen poem. She said that she was inspired to do so as a response to the creative writing that was included in the program. The original poems in the program were written by Mr. Pollock’s class, and they were a great read while the stage crew quickly set the stage for each section of the concert.

The Grade 6 Strings performed a rhythmically dynamic piece called “The Gauntlet” and finished up with a hoedown complete with stamping feet and lap drumming. They were followed by the Grade 7/8 Combined String Orchestra who played a stunningly rich sounding Carmen Suite. Jennifer Fisher, the other Middle School strings teacher was also on stage to help with the tuning and to perform with the ensemble.

Listen to “Carmen Suite”:06 Track 6

It was then time for the full orchestra to play “Scheherazade,” beginning with a very difficult, and perfectly executed, violin solo by the concert master, Luke Erasmus. The strings played by themselves again in a piece inspired by Singapore called “Lion City.” It presented some unique sounds and they shared the stage with a couple of beautifully ornamented Chinese Lions. The entire concert ended with a rousing rendition of the “Radetzky March” by Johann Strauss, in which the audience again joined in clapping.

Listen to “Lion City”:08 Track 8

Congratulations to Mr. Frater, Mr. Farish, Mrs. Smith, Ms. Fisher and to all the student musicians for a wonderful evening of music. It was a delight.

More photos are available in the photo gallery.

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