Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Brass instruments gleamed under the stage lights as student musicians tuned their trumpets and flutes and pounded a riff on the percussions. Bows stroked the violins, cellos and violas as director Christine Mallery prepared the combined Nederland Middle Level and High School orchestras in the first performance of the NMSHS Fall Band and Orchestra last Thursday, October 19, 2017.
“Gauntlet” by Doug Spata was a rousing piece with 24 students combining their talents on the stringed instruments.
Band and orchestra musicians practice their parts alone at home, over and over again; parents get to hear the individual pieces, but it isn’t until the concert that they hear and see their child become an integral part of the whole; the individual notes blending and harmonizing with their fellow musicians.
Middle Level Orchestra students performed “Bass-ically Bluegrass,” with a solo by Bella Herndon.
The High School Band, directed by Liz Evans, was outstanding in its rendition of “The Great Highland Pipes,” which managed to capture the wail and lament of bagpipes. They brought the house down with “Yankadi (Good to Be Here”) Djembe drumming patterns from West Africa, the deep, booming notes beating through the heart of the audience.
The last piece of the night, “Hyperdrive,” was performed by the high school orchestra, many students having played for many years. They were precise and inspiring.
Another concert will be held in December.
(Originally published in the October 26, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)