Pitch Perfect: Large Ensembles Concert


If there’s one thing that’s certain about attending a SMUS concert, it’s that your ears are always in for an outstanding auditory smorgasbord. From pitch-perfect pop music and movie scores, to wondrous wedding marches and symphonic sonatas, this week’s Large Ensembles Concert was no exception.

The concert, at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium, showcased the Senior School’s musically inclined students who participate in our concert bands, orchestras and choirs.

The String Orchestra, led by Ms. Donna Williams, kicked off the show with all four distinctly original movements of Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata for Strings. The woodwinds and brass joined for the second piece to make up the full orchestra, as they performed Modest Moussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, made popular by Disney’s original Fantasia.

Watch Sonata for Strings, performed by the String Orchestra, below.

The Junior Concert Band followed, performing a set of songs familiar to movie buffs. The group began with Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nova. While you may not recognize the name, you’d know it if you heard it; it’s more recently known as the upbeat theme music from the Austin Powers films. Led by Mr. Gordon Clements, the Junior Concert Band finished with the stirring Concert Suite from Dances With Wolves.

The Grade 11/12 Concert Band, performing one of the more unique pieces of the night, wowed the crowd with Derek Bourgeois’ Serenade Opus 22. The composer wrote this song as a wedding march for his own wedding, but he made it challenging music to march to. Written in an 11/8 time signature (most popular music is written in very straightforward 4/4 time), the Concert Band’s performance sounded beautiful and waltz-like, but it’s naturally almost impossible to tap your toes to the beat.

Watch the Concert Band perform Serenade Opus 22 below.

Also taking their cues from the big screen, the Senior Concert Band performed a medley of music from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, composed by Alan Menken.

The Concert Choir ended the show with four very different pieces. Led by Mr. Peter Butterfield, they began with Hymn to Freedom. Accompanied by Ms. Margaret Skinner on piano, this Oscar Peterson tune uniquely mixes his signature jazz stylings with choral music. The group’s second song was Battle of Jericho, an impassioned piece that allowed all voices a chance to be heard, accompanied by Grade 9 pianist Sean Finamore. The mixed choir was joined onstage by talented Grade 12 students to perform the Josh Groban hit You Raise Me Up, by Brendan Graham and Rølf Løvland. The concert finished with the choir singing Paul Halley’s Freedom Trilogy, with Grade 10 student Aaron Gelmon on percussion.

Congratulations to all the bands, their teachers and the support staff that help put on such a great show every year!

Watch You Raise Me Up, performed by the Concert Choir, below.

You can browse through and download more than 350 images of the concert at the SMUS Photo Gallery. You can also watch the whole show on SMUSTube!


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