Small Ensembles: Small on Numbers, Big on Talent

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Each year the Small Ensembles Concert, the first major event of the music season, offers students the opportunity to perform in front of an audience in a small venue. From Vocal Jazz to Collegium Musicum to Swing Band and Jazz Band, the students are prepared and conducted by experienced, world class musicians Donna Williams, Peter Butterfield and Gordon Clements. This year’s performance included an eclectic mix of ’80s tunes, Mozart, Henry Mancini and classic jazz. Congratulations to all involved in the show!

Below is a clip of the Jazz Band doing “Chili Today, Hot Tamale” by Rick Hirsch at the show. You can see other clips on SMUSTube.

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Student Reflection

by Emily, Grade 12

This week, I had the opportunity to perform in the Small Ensembles Concert, which is what I like to think of as the “hipster” concert here at SMUS. It’s not mainstream like the Large Ensembles Concert, which everyone participates in, it’s definitely not as formal either (no blazers), but everyone still wants to be a part of it because it’s cool. It features some of the lesser-known, but equally amazing, music groups here on campus: the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the Swing Band, the Jazz Band and special pieces with soloists performed by the choir. It’s really a showcase of how well-rounded the community is here at SMUS. We heard pieces ranging from Mozart to the Battle of Jericho to ’80s pop songs.

The atmosphere at the concert makes it the ideal place to perform. There are large stage lights, amps and microphones set up for everyone to use. Everyone feeds off the energy of all the other performers, so that the adrenaline is palpable. Looking out over the crowd and watching everyone smiling and moving to the music just pushes you to perform even better. It’s definitely an event that defines what it means to be a community.

Even offstage, the performers are geared to go. Girls are putting on makeup and fixing their dresses, while the boys tap out the rhythms to their songs and try to grab the slices of pizza. Musical interludes pop up here and there. An amazing rendition of “Halo” by Beyonceé began emanating from the backroom, complete with three-part spontaneous harmony. There was saxophone in another room, and clarinet coming from the opposing corner. For music lovers everywhere, the Small Ensembles Concert is the show to see.

You can browse and download more pictures from the Small Ensembles concert at the SMUS Photo Gallery.

(photos by Darin Steinkey)

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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