By OSCAR CHEN
In culmination of another year of musical achievements, the JP Stevens Band held its spring concert, the last concert of the school year, on May 11. Under the direction of Mr. DeNicola and Mr. Zazzali, the bands and small ensembles prepared a diverse repertoire of selections through long hours of rehearsal. As band director Mr. Zazzali explained, “Preparing for the concert is like making a movie. For every minute of a movie, the director might shoot hours of film. The work you put into every practice is what ultimately makes every performance good.”
The spring concert commenced with the performance of the the flute quartet. The flutes performed Edvard Grieg’s fast and technically difficult pieces “Morning Mood” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” The band then showcased a medley of songs with a theme that proved to be a favorite for both the band and the audience: “The Wizard of Oz.” Sophomore Tyra Gravesande, who played the clarinet in the Symphonic Band, commented, “My favorite piece to perform was the ‘Wizard of Oz’ because of all the childhood memories I have from watching the movie.”
The Freshman Band followed with its performance of “The Liberty Bell,” an American military march by John Philip Sousa. Its next song, “Scherzo Fantastique Excerpts,” by Joseph Suk, unified the characteristic tones of both the brass and woodwind groups.
The final ensemble was the woodwind quintet, which performed the classic “Peter and the Wolf,” accompanied by a narration of the story spoken by senior Shravan Hariharan. Each instrument in the quintet represented a different character in the story; the flute played its role as the bird, the bassoon as the Grandfather, the French horn as the wolf, and the clarinet as the cat.
The last group of the concert, the prestigious Wind Ensemble, continued its annual tradition of awarding a solo to a talented member of the ensemble. Senior Jessica Ho, who is the first chair flutist of the Wind Ensemble and of the All-State Band, was chosen to be the soloist of this year. She executed her performance of “Carmen Fantaisie Brillante” by playing the brisk progressions with technical precision and the slow sections with great emotion to give the piece a unique voice. The concert ended with the performance of “Scenes for Wind Ensemble,” a piece composed and conducted by the maestro Bruce Yurko.
For many band members, this year’s spring concert was particularly special to them. Senior Jack Wu explained, “I feel honored to be able to play Bruce Yurko’s composition and am glad my last concert was successful and full of memorable music.”